National Organising Secretary, Ohanaeze Youth Wing, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, speaks on the deportation of Igbos by the Lagos State Government in a recent interview.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo is yet to react officially to the deportation of some Igbos to Anambra State by the Lagos State Government. Could it be that the group is still in shock over the matter, or it has suddenly become feeble?
No, we have not become feeble. In fact, the Ohanaeze Youth Council condemns the action of the All Progressives Congress-led government of Lagos State. The Igbo people have made Lagos State their second home after Igbo land. It is very shameful that the APC-led government of the state has started to discriminate Nigerians in their own nation.
It is an affront to the Igbo nation, and that is to say that the APC-led government of Lagos State cannot accommodate Igbos in Nigeria. We call on the APC government in that state, led by Governor Babatunde Fashola, to apologise to Igbo nation in the next 28 days, or we would ambush them in 2015 with Igbo votes against APC.
But Governor Fashola said he wrote to Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, yet there was no reply.
What is the rationale behind dumping people you claim to be destitute in the middle of the night, instead of taking them to Government House, Awka? We have yet to discover the truth of the whole matter. If Fashola claimed he wrote to Governor Peter Obi, we would like him to publish the letter in the next 14 days as that would enable us to know the truth.
Those who were deported are claimed to be destitute, and since they had nothing to do in Lagos, don’t you think deporting them was the best option, instead of having them constitute nuisance in the state?
My answer to that is that people he claimed that are destitute all have families in Lagos State. So, why can’t Fashola create jobs to accommodate those he claimed are not doing anything in Lagos. We are calling on Fashola to compensate the people he dumped in the middle of the night, or we will make sure that the APC would not win a councillorship seat in the South-East zone come 2015.
Some other Igbos have speculated that Fashola could have written Governor Obi, who could be playing politics to ensure that his party – All Progressive Grand Alliance – wins the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State. What do you think?
The APGA, as an Igbo party, has won Anambra State election two consecutive times, so I don’t think it is politics. It is rather an affront against the Igbo nation. Fashola can redeem himself by apologising to the Igbo nation within 28 days, or APC will face the consequences.
Why attack Governor Fashola? Have you forgotten that your group – the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council – kept mum when Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State retrenched non-Abia indigenes, mostly Igbos, from the civil service?
Well, Governor Theodore Orji never sacked the non-indigenes from Abia State, but rather he wrote to his brother-governors in the South-East zones on the need to redeploy non-indigenes in the state civil service in 2011. Many of those who were affected have been absorbed in their various states.
In the last two years, the Igbos have been slaughtered in the northern part of the country due to the Boko Haram insurgency, yet no drastic reaction from your group as that against Governor Fashola. Why is this so?
We have always been making comments as regards the killings of Igbos and youths in the northern part of the country. We would have had reprisals in the South-East, but for the intervention of some Igbo elders, especially the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nwogu; and Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State who have begged us on several occasions to remain calm in the face of hostility. Our brother, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, has also been doing so.
Ihejirika has been on top of the situation as far as the Boko Haram insurgency is concerned. We have remained calm so that peace will remain in Nigeria, but we are calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to compensate families of the victims.
With the recent happenings against the Igbo in the last two years, and President Goodluck Jonathan’s seeming inability to protect the Igbos’ interest, will youths of Ohanaeze Ndigbo still support him in 2015?
For now, our supporting Jonathan in 2015 is still very dicey. If we must endorse him, then he must speak with Igbo youth leaders within 28 days to discuss the promises he made to the Igbo nation. These promises include the ones he has achieved and the ones he has not achieved in the South-East geo-political zone. Out of the 13 Igbo youths who signed a communiqué of his endorsement in 2011, and worked assiduously for his victory, three have died and 10 are still alive.
The three were not empowered before their death and that made us to have a meeting last weekend in Enugu, as regards Jonathan’s 2015. We met to make it clear that Jonathan must sit with us, or he should forget 2015. We are calling on his wife, whose mother is of Igbo descent, to intervene to ensure that we sit with her husband or herself. And we have appointed at the meeting, Governor Theodore Orji, to act as a link between the Igbo youths and the president.