Despite the ongoing agitation for an Igbo dominated Republic of Biafra which culminated into ultimatum by the Arewa youths to Igbos in the north to quit the region, the Igbo community in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital, has pledged its support for one Nigeria.
President-General of the community in Lokoja, Captain Maximus Okochi who spoke with journalists on Saturday, said that after consulting widely with his Igbo kinsmen living in the state capital and its environs, they have come to the conclusion that it is a misplaced priority to start agitating for breakup of the country.
“Even though agitation for independence is not new all over the world, what is strange is the violent way in which such agitation is being made. We are against breaking Nigeria. God who brought us together knows the reason for doing so and no one has the right to separate us. The unity of Nigeria is not negotiable,” he said.
Captain Okochi said that Igbos in Kogi state have very cordial relationships with the people of the state. Apart from sharing borders, they have also intermarried in virtually all the senatorial districts and have therefore become one.
He advised those spearheading the agitation to learn from history and drop the idea as it will do no one any good on the long run, saying that some of them witnessed what happened during the last agitation and its attendant consequences
“If what happened from 1967 to 1970 was a mistake, then there should be no reason to repeat it as repeating a mistake amounts to senselessness which true Igbos are not known for,” Captain Okochi counseled
He however advised the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, address the issues causing the agitation, pointing out that, such issues as marginalisation, underdevelopment and exclusion should be addressed in order to reduce tensions.
Okochi equally admonished his kinsmen to employ decorum, sense of maturity and political dexterity in their demands for social justice and equality as legitimate partners in the Nigeria project
He therefore called on the Igbos across generations to emulate the virtues of their past leaders who participated and contributed immensely to the attainment of the nation’s independence from the colonial masters .
“Igbos are supposed to be leading patriots in the course of the political, economic and technological development of Nigeria, but have decided to abandon the expected nationalistic and patriotic spirit to engage in a fresh effort of starting a new country that will not materialize”, he noted.
Capt. Okochi therefore admonished Nigerians to focus on matters that will lift Nigeria to greater heights and compete favorably with other nations, both developed and underdeveloped, economically and technologically.