The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has declared that the Niger Delta Region is not part of Biafra and that no inch of the South-South geopolitical zone shall be part of any imagined “Republic”.
A statement issued, yesterday, by its National Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, said: “It is rather puerile for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), or any other group to consider that Niger Delta Region would be part of any arbitrary contraption. And if it becomes necessary for the Niger Delta people to pull out of this country, we shall do so, on our terms”.
He described as “idiotic and foolhardy” a statement circulated in the media and credited to one Emma Powerful, a supposed spokesman of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against elder statesman and PANDEF’s National Leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark.
He said: “The preposterous expressions in the article could only have emanated from “deluded and demented minds, and are quite indicative of the silliness of the IPOB officialdom.
“It is a shame that they cannot differentiate between fact and fantasy. This stupidity would erode any sympathy they had hitherto received from the South-south geopolitical zone.
“Regarding the unsavoury remarks, it’s needless to mention privileged credentials and contributions of the nationalist and esteemed nonagenarian, whose life is a rich source of inspiration to many, within and beyond the borders of Nigeria.
“Nevertheless, since IPOB belligerents are so infantile and uninformed, it would suffice to state that the influence and significance of Chief Clark transcend the South-South Zone and the Niger Delta. He is an unswerving voice that resonates across Nigeria, for decades, speaking out against oppression, discrimination, and marginalisation in the country.
“Clark has continued to play vital roles to stimulate unity, peace, and development in the Niger Delta Region, and Nigeria, at large. He has been working with other patriotic Nigerians, including the leadership of the apex Igbo Socio-Cultural Organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and eminent personalities of Igbo extraction, towards realisation of a better Nigeria, where equity, fairness, and justice would reign, and which, he remains doggedly committed to, even at age 94.”
PANDEF Chairman said though, no well-meaning Igbo son or daughter would sanction the aspersion by IPOB on its leader, he, however, called on Igbo nation to denounce IPOB’s statement, and tender a public apology to the elder-statesman, and the entire Niger Delta people, in the interest of healthy relations between the Southeast and South-south zones.
He said anything short of that would be inferred to be tacit approval of IPOB’s balderdash.