The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, yesterday renamed the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as Indigenous People of Brighter Nigeria (IPOBN), saying the youths that constitute the membership of the group should not be discarded.
Expressing disappointment with the proscription and tagging of IPOB as a terrorist group, Ogunwusi said denouncing a people agitating over their right was not the hallmark of democracy.
He stated this yesterday when he visited Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to show solidarity with the people of the state and the entire people of Southeast over the recent security crisis that claimed many lives and property.
The traditional ruler said he was in Abia “to continue the oneness we preach concerning the unity of this country and to continue to build bridges across the entire country.”
He faulted the manner youths were being discarded and branded terrorists for crying out against injustice in the land, noting that the youths who were involved in agitations were justified in asking for justice and equity in Nigeria.
“There is something that is bothering them that is making them to cry. We should not throw them away; we should draw them closer (because) the youths of this country are the future, the energy. They are the heart beat of this country,” he stated.”
According to him, the youths have inherent energies that could be tapped and positively channeled to build a batter Nigerian state; hence he called for proper re-orientation of the youths to make them drop negative tendencies, such as hate speeches and call for disintegration of the country.
Allying with the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo that Nigeria should be restructured to ensure equity, justice and fairness, the Ooni said the Yoruba race shared the same view on the way forward for a better and all-inclusive Nigeria.
“We must chart the course of doing things with positive energy. I want to let you know that you are not alone in this; we stand by you positively in a very progressive manner. We stand by you that we all must come together to build a united Nigeria. We don’t want any war; we don’t want any disintegration,” he added.
Ogunwusi, who is also the deputy president of the National Council of Traditional Rulers, said he is very proud of the youths and would never throw them away and urged Ikpeazu and other Southeast leaders to open the door and bring the youths in and re-orientate them
He lauded the people of Southeast for their contribution in national development, saying Igbo people are truly the life and life line of this country, citing their can do spirit, which he said he is very proud of.
According to him, the Igbo and Yoruba are “spiritually linked; hence we must work together.”
Ikpeazu, in his response, said that he was honoured and privileged to play host to the monarch, who he commended for being in tune with national issues and making positive contributions for national rebirth.
The governor assured the Oba that he would not throw away the youths involved in agitations, saying he has put in place a programme for massive employment of youths to channel their energies positively.