Ohanaeze Ndigbo apologises to Clark over IPOB’s derogatory remarks
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has apologised to elder statesman and Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, over the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) offensive remarks against him.
Clark had said IPOB was dreaming to think that the South-South geo-political zone would join in the clamour for Biafra Republic.
But responding, IPOB scolded Clark, describing him as a “saboteur and betrayer.”
IPOB’s outbursts had attracted the attention of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), which demanded an apology from Ndigbo to the elder statesman or it would view the organisation as tactically supporting IPOB, a development it said, might be injurious to both groups.
Following the demand, Ohanaeze Ndigbo insisted that it would not support IPOB against the Ijaw Leader, saying it held Clark in high esteem, as one who had worked hard for the unity and development of Nigeria.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Chiedozie Ogbonna, the group said Ohanaeze Ndigbo clarified that the Igbo value old age with courtesy and reverence.
“Old age is so treasured that the eldest man in a village or community, in most cases, enjoys community burial and funeral rites at death. The elderly are deemed to represent the Igbo ancestors on earth and thus are often celebrated.
“It is a public knowledge that youths, all over the world, have some common characteristics like impetuosity and exuberance. As much as youth effervescence and exuberance are the hallmarks of a growing society, it is still the duty of the elders to moderate their excesses and idiosyncrasies,” the statement reads.
The group said Clark remained one of the few detribalised Nigerians with an unassailable love for the Igbo, insisting that he had demonstrated an intense passion for the Igbo in several ways.
“It was Chief Clark, who facilitated the renovation and equipping of the Queens School, Enugu with state of the arts facilities shortly after the Nigerian civil war. Eminent Igbo women that passed through the school, such as Justice Rose Ukeje (rtd.), Justice Victoria Nebo, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Ifeoma Enemuo, Prof. Ifeoma Egbuonu, Mrs. Justina Offia (SAN) and Prof. Gloria Chukwukere are some of the testaments of Clark’s magnanimity,” it said.
The Ohanaeze Ndigho cautioned the youths to henceforth, refrain from remarks capable of putting the Igbo relationship with their valued neighbours in avoidable distress.
“The Igbo agitation is genuine, but restraint, persuasion and cordial inter-ethnic relations are required to sustain the support of other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“Southern and Middle Belt leaders converged and chose Clark as leader of Southern Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) because of his sterling qualities. Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Prof. George Obiozor also holds Chief Clark in high esteem.
“We, therefore, hope that the unsavoury remarks of our youths will not weaken his passion and commitment to the Igbo,” the statement added.