By Jude Atupulazi
The chairman of Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria (MOBIN) and chairman, IPOB Biafra Project, Barr Emeka Emekesiri who resides in the UK, has congratulated the traditional ruler of Onitsha, Obi Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, on his courage to invite him, Emekesiri, to this year’s Ofala Celebration.
The Biafra leader, who was represented by the Director- General of MOBIN, Rita Anigbogu, and the Administrator of the Customary Government of Biafra, Engr Anthony Aniebue, with many other delegates, came with a native cow which was presented to an obviously elated Achebe.
While addressing the monarch later, the Biafra leader informed Achebe that the Biafra project was still on course and being handled by professionals, noting that Achebe’s call for a Regional Government was in line with the Biafra Phase 2 Project.
Describing the 2018 Ofala Festival as a special one because he was involved, the Biafra leader expressed happiness that the Onitsha monarch invited him to the Ofala without directing him to hide his Biafra identity.
Said he, ‘I am a Biafran human rights activist and represent the Biafrans. I was humbled with some trepidation when I saw that he sent the invitation directly to me by himself and not by his messengers. Like a child given a portion of meat bigger than what he expected from his father, I deeply appreciate the honour and recognition that His Royal Majesty has accorded me despite my littleness in society.
‘We have gathered here today to celebrate and rejoice with a man; not just a man, but a King; not just a King but a Treaty King in Africa; Obi of Onitsha, Agbogidi; a man bestowed with the national honour as Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR), who has impacted positively on the lives of millions,’ he said.
Emekesiri described Achebe as a man who had brought respect to the traditional institution by not cheapening it as some others were presently doing, recalling how Achebe insisted on waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari in his palace during the latter’s visit to the state, rather than going to the airport to receive him.
‘In this era when Royal Fathers in this part of the country are prostrating before politicians, speaking contradictions from the two sides of their mouths to win favour from the government, the Obi of Onitsha, made the Igbo Nation proud by upholding the sacredness and dignity of the ancient throne he occupies. It was in November 2017 when the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari visited Anambra State and expected the Obi of Onitsha to leave the palace and come to the airport to welcome him.
‘Yet, the President of Nigeria visited the Emir of Kano and other traditional rulers in the North and paid homage to them at their palaces! The Obi of Onitsha remained in his palace, waiting for the visitor to come and pay homage, but the visitor left Anambra State disappointed that he could not ridicule the ancient throne of Igbo Land. Agbogidi has made us proud. All traditional rulers in the Igbo Nation should learn from him and stop disgracing the Igbo traditional institution,’ Emekesiri said.
He also hailed Achebe’s call for Restructuring of Nigeria into Regional Governments, noting that it was necessary for the exercise of the Igbo Nation’s right to self-determination.
‘Each region will govern itself, thrive independently and develop at its own pace,’ he averred, stating that restructuring rather than Igbo presidency, was his concern.
‘This is where I declare him my comrade in the struggle for self-determination by way of devolution of power. He is saying what we are saying in the Biafra Project by legal methodology and political diplomacy. This is the same message of Restructuring by Devolution of Power being preached by Chief Barr Nnia Nwodo, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
‘We are Biafrans by indigenous identity described in Suit No FHC/OW/CS/192/2013 between Biafra and Nigeria as Indigenous People of Biafra. We have no intention to destroy Nigeria but to be free to govern ourselves and develop at our own pace just like Scotland governs itself within Britain.
‘The four countries – England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – are autonomous nations governing themselves within Britain. Every region should be free within Nigeria to govern itself with its own regional parliament, control its resources, pay the agreed percentage tax to the Federal Government and develop at its own pace. This is the best solution to the Nigeria-Biafra conundrum. If this political arrangement could work in Britain, why should it not work in Nigeria?’ He wondered.