An Igbo group has asked Nigerians not to take statements credited to the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, seriously as he is from Cameroon and does not speak for Igbo people.
The group, which calls itself The Industrious People of Eastern Nigeria,IPEN was reacting to a statement credited to the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
Wike wondered why Igbo people allowed criminals to speak on their behalf.
IPEN now stated that its members will no longer allow a man whose genealogy has been traced to Southern Cameroon to continuously cause disaffection between them and other ethnic nationalities
In a statement distributed by Mediashop Naija, the group claimed that Nnamdi Kanu’s grandfather settled in Rivers state and later Afara Ukwu in Abia state in 1909.
The group claimed Kanu’s grandfather moved to Abia when he was ostracised from Mankon village in the Southern Cameroonian City of Bamenda.
It claimed Kanu’s grandfather Okwu Kanou was ostracized due to issues relating to mental illness.
NigerianEye was not able to verify this story, but doubts its authenticity as Kanu’s father, Eze Israel Okwu Kanu, was, until his death last year, the traditional ruler of Isiama Afara, a community in Umuahia, Abia State.
But IPEN expanded its claim: “His settlement in both places explains why activities of the proscribed group is prevalent in Rivers and Abia states respectively”, IPEN claimed in a statement by its South-East coordinator, Nwabueze Okoye.
According to the group: “The character and traits exhibited so far by the IPOB leader in the quest for his Biafra, clearly shows that he is not Igbo.”
Read the full statement by IPEN
“The systematic infestation of the south eastern region with Nnamdi Kanu’s victim mentality is worrisome and has to be checked.
“Igbo people are not cowards neither are we timid. We are naturally daring. The igbo man does not run away from problems rather he is constantly in search of solutions.
“We do not run away from challenges, we compete and naturally dominate.
“Nnamdi Kanu wants Biafra simply because he lacks the mental, physical and emotional capacity required to succeed in a competitive society as ours.
“This personal lack of self-confidence and feeling of powerlessness which Nnamdi Kanu has systematically tried to pass on to our youths is un-igbo like and must be stopped.
“After the civil war, the Igbo man was left with nothing. Our abandoned properties in other parts of the country were taken over by people who never worked hard for it.
“We had to build our region from the scratch and today we have the biggest and most thriving economy among other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“We have dominated trade and commerce in Nigeria and beyond. Neither Nnamdi Kanu nor his lineage has contributed to the economic growth of the igbo people.
“The Igbo man who has lived all his life doing business in Maiduguri did not tell you he wants to return. Neither did the one that owns fuel stations and other properties in Damaturu tell you he is not comfortable.
“But Nnamdi Kanu wants them to abandon their sweat and return to the East where he expects to Lord it over them.
“He has no verifiable business or source of income anywhere in the world but want to create problems for those with businesses in Lagos.
“The South-East remains the most developed among all regions in the country not because of Government presence but as a result of the industrious nature of the true Igbo man.
“Nigeria has its peculiar challenges, obstacles and limitations like can be found in many other societies.
‘But the igbo man has made it a habit to break these barriers and succeed everywhere we find ourselves.
‘Igbo people have excelled in all spheres of human endeavor in all parts of the world.
‘We have captains of Industries, sports men and women, people in the entertainment industries, academics of Igbo extraction that have left indelible footprints in the sands of time all over the world.
‘How do you imagine a tribe that produced the great Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Sam Mbakwe, the novelist and author of “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe, Philip Emeagwali, Prof Chuba Okadigbo, the former Secretary General of the Common Wealth, Emeka Anyaoku, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Late Prof. Dora Akunyili and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala among others would have an Nnamdi Kanu as its spokesperson?
“Nnamdi Kanu has not even achieved what the likes of Christian Chukwu, Chioma Ajunwa, Kanu Nwankwo, Mikel Obi, Peter and Paul of Psquare, Flavour and Phyno achieved in the world of sports and entertainment to put him in a pedestal to speak for Ndi igbo
“All these people to mention but a few excelled within and outside the same Nigeria that Nnamdi Kanu could not.
“According to the group, “Nnamdi Kanu does not possess the necessary qualifications required to speak and cannot be said to be speaking for Ndi Igbo.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu does not speak for ndi Igbo and he does not control igbo as a tribe
“The group blamed the leadership vacuum created by greedy politicians in the South-East as the reason Kanu roamed the region unchecked.
“The group concluded by saying, that their primary objective was to fill up that vacuum and re-awaken the “can do” spirit of the Igbo man to enable the people take their pride of place in the Nigerian body-polity.”