Onoh advises Ezeife not to incite ethnic tension among Igbo, Yoruba
The President-elect, Bola Tinubu’s spokesman in the southeast, Dr Josef Onoh has accused the former Governor of Anambra state, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife of incendiary comments and brewing tension among the friendly peoples of the southeast and southwest.
He said it was not statesmanlike for the status of Ezeife to make media comments capable of inflaming passion to cause ethnic strife in Lagos state and other parts of Nigeria, simply because he wanted to stress his ethnicity.
Ezeife had in an interview blamed the people of the southwest for the electoral disturbances in Lagos state and other alleged clashes reported after the presidential and Governorship election in the state.
But Onoh said that the comments made by Ezeife were disappointing and not befitting of his level of exposure and urged the security agencies to rise up the duty of averting national crisis because of ‘inciting and derogatory comments such as the ones he accused the former governor of making.
Onoh said: “It’s disappointing that a so-called elder statesman has reduced the respect his age and position in life accorded him, whereas he was supposed to lead the new generation of Nigerians. Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife’s comments were not only derogatory but inflammatory and capable of threatening the unity of Nigeria. I’m disgusted that such a respectable person can mobilize against another ethnic group.
“There may have been pockets of violence in Lagos as it was in other states during the election, but when an elder statesman that is saddled with the responsibility of uniting Nigeria turns himself into a tool for destabilization of Nigeria, I become ashamed to share the same decade with him.
“For him to be telling the vulnerable public that Peter Obi will be sworn-in is only aiming to arm the gullible segment of the public against the constituted authority and the consequence of his utterances, if not checked, may create a state of anarchy and I urge him to refrain from further making such utterances in future and allow the Judges to do their work because Peter Obi has not appointed him to be a Judge.
“Ezeife has never hidden his dislike for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, but he is now using irrelevant issues to foster divide and create instability and violence, inciting violence through his utterances, hiding in the guise of an activist.
“He has made himself an aspirant without a political party because he is now making the fight worse than Peter Obi who came third in the election and is in court, but Ezeife is now taking the fight as if he was the candidate in question. So Ezeife is a case of an aspirant without a political party. He is publicizing a false narrative without evidence.”
Onoh cautioned Nigerians in Diaspora who do not reside within the country but use social media to inflame passion, promoting unverified information and false narratives to desist from the act and urged the federal government to place guidelines that would ensure responsible use of social media, which he said was getting out of hand, particularly in the Instagram.
“I call on the security agencies to live up to their core values of maintaining the unity of the country and persons involved in incendiary comments should be arrested because a nation without enforceable laws is no nation and at this point, enough should be enough.
“All these elements are trying to create a phantom ethnic problem between the Yoruba and the Igbo, between the Labour party and the APC and these are all agents of doom. Whether they like it or not, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is our President-elect and come May 29th will be the President of a united Nigeria and anybody who has reservations should go to court to prove it instead of mounting the social media to rant and stimulate unrest,” Onoh said.
He disclosed that on the case of Chief Emannuel Iwanyanwu, he was taken out of context on his alleged ‘Yoruba rascal’ comment, and circulated on social media with the intent to promote disunity.
Onoh stated that Iwuanyanwu at no point referred to the Yoruba as rascals, but rather referred to the characters promoting and engaging in electoral violence as rascals irrespective of their ethnicity.
He appealed to his fellow spokespersons of all political parties, particularly in the APC, to be cautious, civil and most respectful in engaging the public in serving the President-elect.
“We should show the highest display of maturity and respect even in the face of provocation as any comment made by us is seen and interpreted as the position of Mr. President-elect. He has been elected to serve the people, he has been elected by Nigerians and Nigerians like in other democratic countries have the right to question their president, hold their leaders accountable because a public office isn’t a private business, hence we must demonstrate the highest level of tolerance and wisdom in discharge of our respective mandates.
“We must all act presidential and refrain from using positive energy to chase negative energy for this is our new mandate and together we work to renew hope,” Onoh said.