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The Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has disagreed with the Federal Government’s proscription and tagging of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization, stressing that the youths that constitute the membership of the groups should not be discarded.
Oba Ogunwusi, who was in Abia State on a solidarity visit with the people of the state and the entire people of South East zone following the recent security crisis in the zone, said the Yorubas are in sympathy with the Ndigbo over the security crisis in Abia State last month.
The foremost Yoruba monarch, who was in Government House, Umuahia explained that he was in Abia “to continue the oneness we preach concerning the unity of this country and to continue to build bridges across the entire country.”
He faulted the manner youths were being discarded and branded terrorists for crying out against injustice in the land and noted that the youths who were involved in agitations were justified in asking for justice and equity in Nigeria.
Oba Ogunwusi explained that due to the genuineness of the agitation, he would rename IPOB from the Indigenous People of Biafra to Indigenous Peoples of Brighter Nigeria (IPOBN) because according to him, they were justified by asking for justice and equity in Nigeria.
“There is something that is bordering them that is making them to cry,” he said, adding, “We should not throw them away; we should draw them closer (because ) the youths of this country are the future, the energy, they are the heart beat of this country.”
According to him, the youths have inherent energies that could be tapped and positively channeled to build a batter Nigerian state that instead of throwing them away they should be drawn closer and their energies channeled positively for a better Nigeria.
The Yoruba monarch called for proper re-orientation of the youths in order to make them drop negative tendencies such as hate speeches and call for the disintegration of the country.
Underscoring the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo that Nigeria should be restructured to ensure equity, justice and fairness, the Ooni stated that the Yoruba race shared the same view on the way forward for a better and all-inclusive Nigeria.
His word; “We must chart the course of doing thing with positive energy. I want to let you know that you are not alone in this. We stand by you positively in a very progressive manner. We stand by you that we all must come together to build a united Nigeria. We don’t want any war; we don’t want any disintegration.”
Oba Ogunwusi, who is also the deputy president of the National Council of Traditional Rulers, said that he is very proud of the youths. He specifically urged Ikpeazu and other South East leaders to open the door and bring the youths in and re-orientate them.”
He lauded the people of South East zone for their contribution in national development, adding, “Igbo people are truly the life and lifeline of this country (citing) their can do spirit which I’m very proud of”.
According to him, the Igbo and the Yoruba are “spiritually linked hence we must work together.”
The Ooni said he was happy that to see that Abia is peaceful contrary to the outside impression that the state was in turmoil. He expressed support to Governor Ikpeazu for his passion for things that are of positive values, promotion of peace and respect for traditional institutions.
Governor Ikpeazu in his response said that he was honoured and privileged to play host to the revered traditional ruler of Ife and lauded the Ooni for being in tune with national issues and making positive contributions for national rebirth.
“I am a firm believer that this country is strong today because of its diversity. The problem confronting Nigeria remains the inability to harness the potentials and weld together the diversities to create a strong, united country”, he observed.
The Abia chief executive assured Oba Ogunwusi that he would not throw away the youths involved in agitations, and that he has put in place a programme for massive employment of youths in order to channel their energies positively.