Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has warned against playing “extreme and dangerous politics” with insecurity in the South East.
Ekweremadu described charges of silence against South-east leaders over the rising security concerns in the region as “sheer blackmail and out of place,” noting that the region’s leaders had always spoken up and that the present situation could have been avoided if the suggestions made to the federal government over the past years had been put to use.
The ranking senator, who is also the leader of the South-east Caucus of the Senate, bared his mind yesterday in a personally signed statement titled “Playing Extreme Politics with South East Insecurity.”
He said: “I have noted with concern the growing and well-choreographed attack on the South-east opposition leaders for allegedly not condemning the rising insecurity and agitations in the South-east of Nigeria and the activities of non-state actors.
“I believed initially that those were genuine concern about the security situation in the South-east. However, I have come to the realisation that those making and inducing the statements are only playing politics with a very serious matter. The objective is to lay the foundation for the harassment and possible destruction of the opposition in the South-east ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“It is on record that the South-east leaders have at various times individually and collectively stated their positions on the challenges in the region, the concerns and demands of the South-east people of Nigeria. The South-east leaders have also reiterated their opposition to the use of violence to resolve problems.
“I have personally reached out to the President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, both privately and publicly to advice on the treatment of the South-east, restiveness in the region and the need to address their concerns.”
“As Deputy President of the 8th Senate, I recall leading a delegation of South-east Senate Caucus alongside our Caucus Leader at the time, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, to meet with Mr. President as early as November 9, 2016 to discuss the rising insecurity, growing agitations and germane concerns of the people of the South-east region. With benefit of hindsight, we recalled to the President that such steps as we proffered proved very productive in resolving the agitations and the detention of Mr. Ralph Uwazuruike during the tenure of the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.
“My personal position was well laid out in my address entitled ‘Biafra: The Political, Economic, and Social Questions’ presented at the meeting of South-east leaders (South-east Governors, National Assembly members, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and leaders of thought) on political developments in the South-east and state of the nation held at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel on July 1, 2017. The same was adopted by meeting and also widely published by national dailies.
“I equally made my position known in a letter entitled “Rising Tension in the South-east: Re: Appeal to Call Off Operation Egwu Eke” and dated Thursday, September 14, 2017, wherein I gave compelling reasons for dialogue and volunteered to rally Igbo leadership and activists to a roundtable with the President. The letter was published by the Vanguard newspaper under the title ‘Python Dance: Ekweremadu Writes Buhari, Urges Dialogue to Avert another War.’ Unfortunately, all these efforts came to naught, as they were neither given appropriate attention nor operationalised.”