Ohanaeze Ndigbo, apex socio-cultural organization in the South-East geo-political zone has apologized to Ijaw national leader, Edwin Clark, over the disparaging remarks on the elder statesman by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).
Mr Clark had said the seccessionist group were dreaming to think that the present-day South-South geo-political zone will join it to clamour for the restoration of the defunct Biafra Republic.
Responding, the group belittled the Ijaw leader saying he is widely known as a saboteur and betrayer. Citing an instance, IPOB said Mr Clark was instrumental in thwarting the second term political ambition of former president Goodluck Jonathan despite the latter being his fellow tribesman.
In a statement by its national chairman, Emmanuel Essien, The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) called on Ohanaeze to apologize for the remarks of IPOB else it will view the socio-cultural group as tactically supporting the seccessionist group, a development he said will be injurious to the healthy relations between them.
Complying, Ohanaeze, through its National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia, denounced the derogatory comments and apologized to the elder statesman.
“All over the world, there is a fundamental difference between the youths and the elderly,” Mr Ogbonnia said in an interview with The Nation. “The youths are characterised sometimes by a certain level of impetuosity and exuberance. That is the characteristics of the youths all over the world. It is not limited to the Igbo.
“As for the elderly, our role is to continue to condition them, advise them, guide them and by God’s grace, sometimes they listen.
“Coming to the remark by IPOB to our elder statesman for that matter, it doesn’t take the support of the elderly family of the Igbo.
“Ohanaeze is not in support of such remarks. We condemn such remarks vehemently, and we are asking Chief Clark to forgive, to understand that we still look at him as our leader in the southern and Middle Belt Forum.
“Our respect and regard for him is very, very much intact. We are also adding that fair enough, he has youths in the South-south who also cannot be exempted from the IPOB’s youthful exuberance.
“We urge the IPOB and our Igbo brothers that the struggle we are into now is one that requires inter–ethnic relation and collaboration.
“To that extent, you need other ethnic groups to carry on with whatever agitation we have. To begin to rubbish the leaders of other ethnic groups or elder statesmen is not really in the interest of the Igbo anyway.
“Whether Biafra or no Biafra, Igbo must still have to relate with the South-south and other parts of Nigeria. The location of Igbo is constant as far as this world is concerned.
“We are already located in a place and our location demands that we relate very well with Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Benue, Ijaw, Igala and all parts of Nigeria,” he added.