The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State has denounced the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) activities by South East governors.
The Party also disagreed with the Nigeria Army, over the latter’s declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation without due process of law.
In a statement signed by its Anambra state Publicity Secretary, Okelo Madukaife, the APC said it was wrong for the governors to take such action against a body campaigning for the right to self-determination of the South-East without following due process.
It stated that although it does not, in any way endorses what it called the weird ways of the violent faction of IPOB, but inspired by the wordings in the code of ethics of APC regarding the rule of law, it held that the illegalities of that action of IPOB should be addressed legally.
The statement reads: “We are worried that governors, who should point the way for the South East, including Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, could lose their heads when others were doing so, and thereby, failed to live up to their responsibilities as leaders.
“We hold that the governors, who, in unison, ought to have drawn the attention of the army to an error in their pronouncement, instead, endorsed it, without due process or broad consultations, and traded away the constitutional rights of an organisation in the South East. Nothing constitutes a bigger betrayal of trust.
“It is our view that the five governors should reverse themselves now; as such illegality may be cited as precedence, going forward.
“We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to call the Nigerian Army to order, to the extent only of veering into the powers reserved for civil authorities, as so much has been experienced in our history, as a nation, not to take some of these costly slips for granted.
“We do not recommend any governor who participated in that infamous decision back to office in the next governorship election of the respective states, whenever such comes.
“This would serve as a big deterrent to future leaders in the South East that political leadership is serious business that invites its arrowheads to be alert, courageous, thorough and farsighted. Hence, only people prepared and seasoned for leadership should seek the mandate of the people.”
The APC had earlier in the statement said that it acknowledged that elements of IPOB had gone astray, castigating, abusing, attacking and harassing those whose support they should ordinarily seek, and added that it saw in one wing of IPOB gross interference with the rights of lawful authorities to carry on their duties in peace.
“Hence, to this extent, this reckless and indicted arm of IPOB, as, indeed, all persons and organisations should answer to the law.
“We, however, commend the federal government for the initiative to protect lives and properties in the South East because the end of rights of one person or group under the Nigerian Constitution is the beginning for another individual or group,” the party chapter said.
“We have seen young men, and women for that matter, claiming to be IPOB members harassing others and compelling them to sing the same songs with them. We have seen those who claim to be IPOB members disrupt campaigns of political parties in Anambra State and threaten leaders of different political persuasions, and heard them claim without lawful authority that elections will not take place in Anambra State on November 18, 2017.
“We have earlier condemned this stance, and called for action on the part off security agencies. Yet, we are equally mindful that all these observations above have come from a breakaway faction of IPOB, which bad news has spread faster, while the real IPOB; civil and persuasive in their approach has condemned the idea of interfering with elections and perpetrating violence. So the authorities concerned ought to have been more circumspect in this regard.
“Our heart goes out to all persons who sustained injuries in the course of securing the South-East by the Nigerian Army and to the families of those who lost their lives. We trust that they would not have died in vain, and that the living may imbibe lessons to arrive at better results for the future of a united and secure South-East, which forms the leg for a prosperous and united Nigeria.
“We urge those who are intent on exercising their right to self-determination to do so within the confines of the law, and to lawfully seek the support of others who must be instrumental to any successful agitation.
“We warn politicians who think that the chorus of the word ‘Biafra’ is a short cut to public positions in the South East to understand that if it ever worked, the expiry date has come, as agitation or a new country is separate from seeking an office within the Constitution of Nigeria.
“We advise Ndigbo to return to the political path set by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr Michael Okpara and Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and take a rightful place in the mainstream of Nigerian politics,” it added.