The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi has said the governors of the region have appealed to their youths kicking against the region’s marginalization to submit their grievances, give them six months to dialogue with the federal government with a view to resolving their grievances.
He said if after six months their grievances are not addressed, they will join them in their agitation.
Umahi who is also the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and governor of Ebonyi state, disclosed this on Thursday while featuring on the Presidential Ministerial Press Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the presidential villa, Abuja, Daily Sun reports.
He said: “I have done stakeholders meeting in the 13 local Government areas, I have done seven days prayers. I have deployed the widows to fast and pray, I have deployed the elder’s council to go round and talk to our people, I have deployed founding fathers to go and talk. All these talking’s we are getting result. Some of the bad boys are pulling out and surrounding to us and they are giving us information. But my position is that these people are our children, it pleases me not. I’m trying to let them know that what they are agitating for can be solved through dialogue.
“We are calling on our youths to submit their demands to us, we will come to the center and submit. If in the next six months we have not substantially addressed it, we can join you in the agitation but right now we don’t support you to insult the President, leaders of southeast and other leaders. That is not agitation, that is foolishness. Agitation is agitation.
“So, we have to tell ourselves the truth, if we want to address marginalization and exclusion from the affairs of the nation, we have to apply wisdom. We shouldn’t go by the way of violence and allow people to hijack peaceful demands of our people. This is our position.”
The Governor also pointed out that past governments failed to properly deal with the issue of marginalization, giving rise to the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and later, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
But he assured that the region will not secede from the country.
Describing IPOB as “a child of necessity,” the governors forum boss stated: “Now, the ESN is also a product of IPOB.
“You can see how this has multiplied but the point remains that from the onset of matter, the past governments did not address the matter properly because when your children cry for any reason, you have to find out what is the problem, what are the reasons and you fix it.
“I think those people were so badly, ignored and that should not have been. And so, what is happening today with regards to IPOB in the South West is not a product of this government per se, but it is a product of national governments that didn’t address the matters from the outset.
“The IPOB people came and said we are not violent, we are not the people killing in security, if you get any of such after decisively such. So, it’s very confusing. Who and who are behind these insecurities happening?”
Umahi added that even though the people of the southeast have justifiable grievances, their agitation has been hijacked.
He explained: “Are there rightful agitations? Yes? Has it turned violent? Yes, it’s been hijacked and that is the truth about the situation in the southwest.
“And so, the governors of southeast appear to be unpopular with a very small section of southeast. why?
Because we refuse to toe their line and be our own.
“You know way of doing this. And their way of doing things is war, and we don’t want to secede, we want to belong to Nigeria, a fair Nigeria with justice, equity and freedom, you know, are platform upon which we exit as the people, and for each of the region.”