A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has warned against playing “extreme and dangerous politics” with insecurity in the South-East.
Ekweremadu described allegations of silence against South-East leaders over the rising security concerns in the region as “sheer blackmail and out of place”.
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A recent report by Daily Trust had said some leaders of the South-East, including Ekweremadu; the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige and a former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, were silent on how to end the agitation in their zone being spearheaded by the proscribed group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
But Ekweremadu, in a statement he signed Wednesday, said Igbo leaders had always spoken up and that the present situation could have been avoided were the suggestions made to the federal government over the past several years been put to use.
Ekweremadu, who is also the leader of the South-East Caucus in the Senate, said: “I’ve noted with concern the growing and well-choreographed attack on the South-East opposition leaders for allegedly not condemning the rising insecurity and agitations in the South- East of Nigeria and the activities of non-state actors.
“I believed initially that those were genuine concern about the security situation in the South-East. However, I’ve come to the realisation that those making and inducing the statements are only playing politics with a very serious matter. The objective is to lay the foundation for the harassment and possible destruction of the opposition in the South East ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“It is on record that the South-East leaders have at various times individually and collectively stated their positions on the challenges in the region, the concerns and demands of the South- East people of Nigeria. South-East leaders have also reiterated their opposition to the use of violence to resolve problems.”
He said he had been in personal touch with Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and South- East governors on the need for meetings of leaders and political stakeholders to collectively proffer solutions to the turbulence in the zone.
Ekweremadu noted that the security challenges and separatist agitations had become nationwide challenges that the nation’s leaders must sincerely come together to resolve.
“It is imperative to underscore the fact that the rising insecurity and agitations in the South-East are not peculiar to the region. It sadly has become a national new normal. From the North West to North-Central, North- East, South-West, South-East, and South-South, there is a conflagration of insecurity, crises, and all forms of restiveness and separatist agitations.
“Therefore, for emphasis, I reiterate that it’s extreme and dangerous to play national or regional politics with serious matters such as we have on our hands today rather than solving the challenges before it is too late. Pragmatic leadership and patriotism are needed at this time.
“We need to rally Nigerians, and come together as leaders to provide solutions and not trade blames or seek to make political capital out of what is clearly capable of consuming the entire nation, including even any political ambitions by anyone”, he warned.