Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, yesterday cautioned Arewa youths and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against spreading hate speeches capable of causing disaffection.
Okorocha also warned those hoping to benefit from the agitations by different separatist groups across the country to jettison such ambitions and work for the unity of the country.
He described secessionist calls as “an ill-wind that will blow no one any good”.
Okorocha, reacting to the quit notice served on Igbo living in North by some Arewa youths and the consequent reactions by pro-Biafra groups, said the “so-called” sit-at-home order by IPOB, which might have triggered the controversial quit notice, was not observed by the Igbo as generally believed.
He said: “we never supported the sit-at-home as believed. What happened was that the sit-at-home order came a day after the May 29 public holiday and knowing our people who also love to extend their holiday over any slightest opportunity decided to stay at home for one extra day. Then most of the traders closed their shops for fear of hoodlums who might want to take advantage of the situation to loot their goods”.
He added: “These secessionist agitations are sponsored for personal aggrandisement. At a point, it was believed that the Yoruba got the presidency because of the agitations of the Oduduwa youths, while it was also believed that former President Goodluck Jonathan, became President as a result of the agitations of the Niger Delta militants. So, people think that the Igbo presidency can be achieved through IPOB and MASSOB agitations.
“These agitations are nonsensical and I condemn them in entirety. We should not be talking about another state within a sovereign state, all we need to do instead of talking about Biafra and MASSOB is to push for the economic emancipation of the Southeast. I know what they will expect me to do as a governor, is to encourage the Biafra agitation and ask our people to prepare for war. But I will never do such thing. I will never support any call to divide Nigeria.
“What we should not forget is that the Igbo paid the greatest sacrifice for the unity of this country. The Igbo has the highest investments across the country. The Igbo developed Lagos and other parts of the country and that makes them the highest investors in the Nigeria project”.
Okorocha blamed Nigerian leaders for the growing spread of hatred among the youths. “We have failed as leaders to instill love in our children. It is about time we took responsibility as leaders to end this threat to our unity. We should not transfer this hatred to the next generation”.
He also appealed to Ndigbo to have a rethink about the agitation to secede, saying the Southeast could not afford another civil war.