By Anayo Okoli, Vincent Ujumadu, Chidi Nkwopara, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Nwabueze Okonkwo, Ugochukwu Alaribe, Steve Oko, Chinedu Adonu, Chinonso Alozie & Ikechukwu Odu
Over time, Simon Ekpa has been in the news for bad reasons, particularly, regarding his role in the agitation for Biafra. He is alleged to be behind the series of illegal sit-at-home, which had taken lives, caused injuries, economic loss and destruction of property in Igbo land, due to their violent enforcement.
This calls for concern because IPoB and its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had always disowned these sit-at-home orders declared by Ekpa and his group. The big question is: Is Ekpa working for or against the interest of Kanu and IPoB? The latest call by Ekpa and his group for illegal five days sit-at-home seems to be the height of irresponsibility, prompting Ohanaeze Ndigbo to call out Ekpa asking if he is a hero or a villain; and also urged some prominent personalities from his Ohaukwu Council Area and Ebonyi State in general, to call him to order.
Ohanaeze tackles imon Ekpa
Ohanaeze lamented that Ekpa and his group illegally called for a five-day sit-at-home, expressing worry over the unruly behaviour among the Igbo youths who, in their utopia, think they are making both name and cheap money, but in the true sense; are digging pits for themselves.
“Ohanaeze wonders how somebody that proclaims himself a leader will neither seek the opinion nor weigh the aspirations and political barometer of his people before going gaga. It is intriguing that the mainstream IPoB led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has long distanced itself from the Monday sit-at-home, yet, every Monday has remained sacrosanct in most parts of the South-East. It is, therefore, both incomprehensible and irreconcilable for the likes of Simon Ekpa to contemplate more days for the sit-at-home or what he called under lock and key in the name of Biafra.
“We, therefore, pose a question to Mr. Ekpa, as to whether he is a hero or a villain?
“The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Prof. George Obiozor and indeed, all well-meaning sons and daughters of Igbo land, with all sense of responsibility, hereby call on the Regent of Umueziaka community, the home of Mr. Simon Ekpa; the Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Hon. Ikechukwu Odono; the member representing Ohaukwu South in the State Assembly, Hon. Chinedu Onah; member for Ohaukwu and Ebonyi Federal Constituency, Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku; the Senator for Ebonyi North, Sen. Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu and the governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi to rein in Mr. Simon Ekpa and compel him to desist from his unreflective youthful exuberance”, Ohanaeze spokesman, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia said in a statement.
IPoB disowns Ekpa
IPOB had many times disowned Simon Ekpa, accusing him and his group called Autopilot, of being responsible for the criminal activities across the South-East region in the name of IPoB.
Spokesman of IPoB, Emma Powerful, had on many occasions made it clear that genuine IPoB members struggling for the State of Biafra, never engage in killing the very people they claim to be liberating from marginalisation.
Distancing itself from Ekpa’s five-day sit-at-home order, IPoB described it as “mischievous” and “anti-Biafra.” Speaking through Emma Powerful, IPoB called on residents of the South-East region to ignore the order.
“IPoB never issued any sit-at-home order because we are not miscreants, senseless or jobless people. Every Biafran resident in Biafra land should ignore such an order from untrained and brainless individuals whose agenda is to make Biafra agitation unattractive to our people. Every Biafran must go about their normal businesses. IPoB which is concerned about our people cannot issue such a brainless and uncaring five-day consecutive sit-at-home order to suffer our people during this critical time of the year.
“The conception of a five-day consecutive sit-at-home order is to show the level of wickedness and hatred they have against our people. Their agenda is to create insecurity and unnecessary hardship. Our people should be prepared and ready to confront any fool who dares to enforce such wicked sit-at-home. Moreover, ESN operatives and IPoB volunteers will be out on these dates to protect our people and the markets.”
Simon Ekpa is a paid agent —Kanu’s brother
Prince Emmanuel Kanu, younger brother of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu accused Ekpa of being a paid agent, saying his activities and approach to agitation for Biafra has clearly given him out as a paid agent.
According to Prince Kanu: “It beats the imagination that somebody who claims to be fighting for the cause of Ndigbo will at the same time be engaging in activities injurious to the same people.”
Ekpa, he said, could not claim to be championing the Biafra cause, when in fact, he is making life painful and miserable for the people.
“There is no doubt he is working for some people because no true blooded Igbo will do something to jeopardize the lives of Igbo people.
“Onyendu (IPoB leader), has always said that he cannot take a life because he doesn’t give life. So, why will people take other people’s lives?
“Why will you kill the same people you say you are fighting to protect? It doesn’t make sense. It is just obvious that Ekpa is working for some people to destroy what Onyendu has built over the years. Why would he give a sit-at-home order? Under whose authority will he do that?
“My brother told me clearly that he did not authorise any person or group to order for sit-at-home. So, why do that? Who is he doing it to impress? It is only a paid agent that will behave the way he does,” Kanu said.
Ekpa is working for enemies of Ndigbo —Prof. Igwe
Renowned academia and professor of political science, Obasi Igwe dismissed Simon Ekpa and his disruptive activities in Igbo land, saying that he is being sponsored by those who do not wish the Igbo well.
Prof. Igwe exonerates IPoB from the evil activities of Ekpa, insisting that IPoB has only one leader in the person of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. He said that Ekpa’s activities are against IPoB and Ndigbo and described Ekpa’s pursuit as childish.
“There is only one IPoB known to the world, and it is headed by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. IPoB is unarmed and peaceful; except its opposition to the activities of Fulani terrorists; they’ve severally assured us of commitment to the campaigns and elections; and had long cancelled the sit-at-homes. What Simon Ekpa is doing is both against the IPoB that people know, the Igbo as a people, as well as all civilized mankind. It is now almost certain that Ekpa is being sponsored by those who do not wish the Igbo well.
Only a stupid general turns his home front to war zone —Prof. Opata
The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nsukka Council Area chapter, Prof. Damian Opata, said that only a stupid war general turns his home front into a war front. He urged Ekpa to change his strategy and seek for ways to protect Igbo people if indeed he loves them. He noted that most of those fighting for Biafra secession do not know what Biafra represents.
Opata, a Professor of African Fiction, condemned the incessant declaration of sit-at-home by the factional leader of IPoB, Simon Ekpa, insisting that it was wrong to inflict pain on the people.
“When Biafra struggle was ideal and led by the best intellects and technologists, not self-seeking individuals, things like this didn’t happen. Most of those fighting for Biafra today do not know what Biafra was. Those who fought for Biafra in the time of Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu were thinkers and researchers who found ways that were productive for the liberation of the people. It is only a stupid war general or strategist that turns his home to a war front,” he said.
S-East leaders shouldn’t allow Ekpa to cause more crises —CLO
The Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Aba Unit, Professor Charles Chinekezi tasked leaders of the South-East zone not to allow Simon Ekpa to cause more crises that could aggravate the security situation in the region. Chinekezi said that Ekpa is bent on creating fear and fostering crisis in the region.
“Simon Ekpa is overstepping his bounds. He is insane, highly irresponsible and hell bent on creating fear and fostering crisis in the South-East and halting Nigeria’s march to genuine democracy. Leaders of the South- East zone should not allow Ekpa to cause more crises and aggravate the already tensed security situation in the zone.
“All of us are stakeholders in the South-East and Nigeria project. So, what stops Ekpa from pursuing dialogue in whatever idea he is advocating? They said he is educated, he ought to have shown this in his conduct, but I am yet to see him display the qualities of an educated person. He appears to be a man who thrives in crisis.
“Ekpa is clearly swimming against the tide of the South-East by inflicting hardship on the same people he wants to liberate.”
Igbo elders reject Ekpa’s sit-at-home
Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, under the leadership of former Anambra governor, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife were aghast over the activities of Ekpa and his group and urged residents of the region to reject directives from them. They described Ekpa’s five-day sit-at-home order as the height of insensitivity to the plight of the people of the region.
“The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum has always believed that some faceless individuals in government and other unpatriotic elements who do not wish Ndigbo well, and have been working hard with evil collaborators to truncate the scheduled 2023 general elections in the South-East are behind the purported sit-at-home order in the zone.”
It’s high time IPoB talked to themselves —Prof. Okoro
Professor Okee Okoro of the Department of Library and Information Science, Imo State University, Owerri, called on the leadership of IPoB to come together and talk to the various factions for peace to reign.
“It’s high time IPoB started talking to themselves. Nobody is too sure again who is saying what. Who is issuing these instructions? Simon Ekpa says something and IPoB will say a different thing. We are now noticing that the house is divided.
“We also know that the sit-at-home order to all intents and purposes, is injurious to our people; nobody is happy about it anymore. If you want something done, let it be done with a motive but when it comes to the point of taking lives, it becomes deceitful,” Okoro said.
Ekpa is an economic saboteur —Ex-deputy speaker
Former Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Cosmos Ndukwe came hard on Simon Ekpa over his militant approach in the Biafra struggles, describing him as “an economic saboteur masquerading as freedom fighter.”
“Ekpa is an economic saboteur masquerading as freedom fighter. Our economy has been grounded by the incessant sit-at-home orders by Ekpa. He is no longer talking about the release of Nnamdi Kanu; his focus now is to destroy the little economy remaining in the South- East.”
For Igboezue International Association Nigeria and the Diaspora, IIAND, the role of Simon Ekpa in the agitation for Biafra should be thoroughly investigated to know why all of a sudden, he seems to be turning the agitation against Ndigbo.
President-General of IIAND, Chief Pius Okoye urged all the elder statesmen from Ebonyi State to call him to order.
Ndigbo United Forum, NUF, Worldwide, through Hon. Chinedu Mba, decried the activities of Ekpa and his group, saying: “Those declaring and enforcing sit-at-home in Igbo land do not mean well for Ndigbo.” Christian Okeke said it is obvious that Ekpa’s days are numbered as he believes that sooner than later, the law will catch up with him.
“Ekpa is the real enemy of the Igbo. How can he be happy when his people at home are suffering as a result of his pronouncements and he will be praising himself that he is the brain behind his people’s problems?”
However, residents of Anambra State urged security operatives to intensify their efforts in protecting the people from those who often put fears in them through frightening statements.