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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

OPINION: Restructuring and Referendum are twin brothers: An appeal to IPOB and Ohaneze

In the last few months, we have watched as Ohaneze and IPOB engaged in exchange of confrontational words. We have also spent some time to read through the complaints that both groups have towards each other and both complaints are genuine and need to be addressed.

The Igbo hear Ohaneze saying that IPOB's approach was insulting and confrontational; undermining their authority as Elders of the Igbo people, thereby depriving them of the time, dignity and credibility that they need to confront the Nigerian State with their demand to have a restructured Nigeria and speeding the process in a manner that might endanger more Igbo lives outside Igboland.

The Igbo also hear IPOB saying that they are a free organization like Ohaneze, with freedom to assemble and also pursue their legitimate right to ask for a Referendum on whether the Igbo and the people of the Old Eastern region would want to remain in Nigeria or not. They are arguing that Ohaneze connived with the Eastern Governors to deny them the right to freedom of Assembly and even kill their members, therefore should not be allowed to enjoy the rights and freedoms which Ohaneze deprived them. These are genuine concerns and need to be tackled.

We would like to say to Ohaneze, the Igbo hear you! We would also like to say to IPOB, the Igbo hear you! The Igbo will like to assure Ohaneze and IPOB that their grievances are heard and genuine and will be addressed so that both parties can be at peace and pursue their mission. This is important because a close look will show that Restructuring and Referendum are twin brothers and twin sisters. Both of them are seeking a just and equitable society where justice reigns and no man is oppressed on the basis of his ethnicity or place of birth.

With these said, we hereby appeal to IPOB to allow Ohaneze to hold their planned summit while the Igbo pursue this reconciliation process. We also appeal to Ohaneze to use the planned forum to clearly and openly deny involvement in the decision leading to the invasion of Nnamdi Kanu's house and the proscription of IPOB by the Nigerian Government. We would also want the Ohaneze as a Father figure to use the summit to ask for the whereabouts of our son, Nnamdi Kanu. We believe that this measure will help in improving relations between both organizations as moving forward in unity is more important now than ever.

The Igbo appreciates the efforts of Ohaneze and IPOB towards a just and free society and would thank them in advance for heading this passionate appeal. We also call on all supporters of IPOB and Ohaneze to shield their swords and no longer to write against each other while the Igbo continues to discuss with the leaders with a view to achieving peace and unity.

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