Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
Chief Ayo Opadokun, elder
statesman and Secretary-General of the National Democratic Coalition
(NADECO) has urged the Federal Government to respond favourably to the
agitation of the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) so as
avoid distracting the government.
Speaking in a chat with Daily
Independent on activities of the group when President Muhammadu Buhari
travelled to Japan for Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD7), Opadokun said while he didn’t support the method
employed by IPOB in pressing home their demands, the federal government
should grant them audience and address the issues so as to avoid further
“To people in government, IPOB members are rebels
but to those who are fighting for self-determination, they are doing
something that is totally acceptable. Nobody gives you your right
anywhere in the world, you must fight for it every day”.
is one of the ways by which they could do so, the Nigerian government
should do what is right and respond favourably if they don’t want an
unnecessary distraction. I may not support the method employed by IPOB
because there may be other better means with which they can press home
their demands” he said.
“You don’t condemn agitations. To you,
they are rebels. For the cause they are fighting, they are icons because
if what they are fighting for succeeded, you will not continue to have
monopoly on what you currently hold. Any state that has been held by
sheer force of arms have never lasted. Where in the world map is USSR
While citing the example of Union Soviet Socialist
Republic (USSR), Opadokun said any leader who thinks he can use force to
hold people together is merely deceiving himself as the union can never
“The struggle of self-determination is the anthem for
this millennium. Any ruler anywhere in the world who imagines that he
can continue to use force to hold the people together is deceiving
himself. Such a leader is living in fool’s paradise. The problem you
have is that some of our people are hypocrites in all manifestations”.
want to eat and remain with any government of the day so that they can
have contracts, so they don’t want to be heard. Even though they share
the same feelings with what those IPOB members are doing but they also
want to be in the good books of the government”.
“No society can
ever develop with that mindset”. In the ideological world, the society
is a kind of class struggle”. The lower cadre are the last, the middle
class and the wealthy or noveau riche at the top.
Usually in any
society that will develop or grow, it is the middle class that will
force down certain concessions from the noveau riche that will percolate
to them and them to the lower class.
“But when those who are in
the middle class are busy with agitations to get contracts for
themselves, marry more wives, buy customized cars, if that is the
preponderance of the middle class of any population, then that society
has lost it. That is what has happened to Nigeria”.
the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), the middle class have been
totally wiped out by former president Ibrahim Babangida. The ones who
really could take up that place, what they are busy doing is ‘if you
can’t beat them, join them’.
“So, there is nobody to care for the
ordinary man who is at the lower rung of the society any longer and
this is what has led to the state of extreme poverty in Nigeria”.
state of poverty in Nigeria is terribly unacceptable and it has long
term effects. It may not happen today but I can tell you that the level
of poverty is so intolerable that anything can be the immediate
thunderbolt that will ginger up reaction of the people”.