In Owerri during the President Muhammadu Buhari ’s visit, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor, said contrary to the claim in some quarters, Igbo people were not secessionists.
Obiozor urged Buhari to ensure that Igbo youths being held in various detention facilities by security agents were released.
He said Ndigbo would continue to be part of Nigeria as long as there was justice in the country.
He said, “After all Nigeria has gone through in its nearly 60 years’ chequered history of crises and continuity, and the spectacular patriotic role of Ndigbo to ensure its unity and survival, the consistent perception that the Igbo are separatists and secessionist agitators is a historical fallacy.
“Indeed, if the truth must be told, Ndigbo are the most federating unit among all Nigerian citizens. Generally speaking, anywhere in Nigeria you don’t find the Igbo, run away; something is wrong there. Igbo are market people and travel adventurers.
“Consequently, what defines the Igbo character are the propensity for friendliness and harmonious peaceful coexistence and spirit of universalism of mankind. This is who we are. Our Igbo adage says, ‘Ojemba enweghi iro’, which literally translates to: ‘A traveller makes no enemy’.
“Also, another misconception of Ndigbo is that they cannot speak with one voice; ironically, that is another fallacy. The Igbo spirit defies conditions that are obstacles for the expression of their individual or group opinion. This sense of egalitarianism is what defines the Igbo system of governance based on liberal democracy and social justice.
“Mr President, in spite of all the threats of secession or separatism facing the country, there is no doubt that no secessionist element can succeed in Nigeria provided there is good governance based on equity, justice and fairness to all the citizens.”