South-East APC group moves to broker peace between Igbo, Yoruba
*Condemns inciting statements over election
Members of the South-East/Igbo APC Progressives Roundtable (SIAPRO), have warned against ethnic strife and tension between Igbo and Yoruba, urging those making inciting statements to desist henceforth.
The group, which made the call Tuesday in Abuja, said its mission was to unite all APC members from the five South/East states and the neighbouring states towards developing a common voice on issues concerning its members, the South/East geo-political zone as well as the Igbo ethnic nationality in Nigeria.
The Convener of the group, Uche Diala, condemned any individual or group making inciting ethnic statements. He went further to describe them as “political rascals”, reiterating that Igbos have been known for ages to be noble guests who do nothing but add value to their hosts in a symbiotic relationship, which he hoped will continue to blossom in Lagos State.
Diala said: “It is heartbreaking to observe what happened in Lagos recently, where misguided Igbos with little or altered sense of history embarked on a fight that was needless, tactless and profitless.
“A visitor should not be a burden or source of misfortune to his host”, he cautioned.
Adding: “Lagos is no less Yoruba land as Anambra is Igbo land. Lagos is not a no man’s land, any contrary view to this is irresponsible and provocative.”
Diala noted that as progressive democrats, members of the group believe that every Nigerian has a right to aspire to any political office that he or she is qualified for and to vote and be voted for wherever one resides and pays taxes.
He said the group will not support any act to deprive anyone of such rights.
Diala, therefore, appealed to “Yoruba brethren and compatriots from Lagos State, asking them to overlook any provocation, disrespect or insults that they might have incurred from the last election cycle.
He stressed that the mutually beneficial and long-term relationship between the Igbos and Yorubas in Lagos is cemented in inter-tribal marriages, intricate and rewarding business relationships and decades of successful political collaboration.
He said: “I want to tell those in Lagos to realise that there is no war between us and Yorubas. They are just political rascals and we, therefore, condemn remarks and actions that seek to deepen the divide and create unnecessary tension, while also stating that there have been equally unacceptable conduct in words and action across the board which included characterization and stigmatization of Igbos.”
The group insisted that the majority of Igbos are law-abiding and patriotic Nigerians who believe in the unity and respect of the sovereignty of Nigeria.
“Igbo land and South-East have not conquered territory. We continue to promote peace and unity, reconciliation and reintegration of the South-East but the task of restoring the South-East is not for Igbos alone but for all Nigerians”, the group stated.