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    Ojukwu declares support for MASSOB
    Biodun Durojaiye , Daily Sun

    (Wednesday, September 8, 2004)

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    ''People of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states feel differently about Biafra than they did then. If a proper discussion were held today, I believe a lot of people from those areas will opt for the Biafra solution." -Ojukwu

    Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu The Ikemba Nnewi and leader of the defunct Biafra Republic, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu has declared support for the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), though he believes the group is not likely to achieve its aims at the moment. Ojukwu, in an interview with Newswatch magazine published in its current edition, also made a strong case for a national conference and called for reintroduction of capital punishment as a way of checking corruption in the Nigerian society. In the interview, the defunct Biafra leader said he supports MASSOB "very much," explaining that members of the movement were frustrated seeing that the reason their people went to war was still there. According to him, MASSOB members seem not to see any way out and believe Biafra might be better, adding that it was up to Nigeria to decide whether Biafra could exist or not. Ojukwu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said he was a patron of MASSOB as with almost all existing Igbo organisations, adding that members of the movement have a right to wish for Biafra and that it is "nonsense" to say they do not.

    He said he was glad that the people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states feel differently about Biafra than they did then, adding "if a proper discussion were held today, I believe a lot of people from those areas will opt for the Biafra solution." Making a strong case for a national conference, Ojukwu observed that "no constitution so far in Nigeria can be called the people’s constitution," adding that there should even be a constitutional review every four or five years. "If people are grumbling, then something is wrong. You should listen to them, they are wearing the shoe. They know where it pinches. This is the problem with Nigeria. If a people want a national conference, why shouldn’t they have it?"

    On the issue of representation at such a national conference, Ojukwu said it would be good to base it on ethnic nationalities, adding that he personally has a list of 305 such nationalities. According to him, if the government is pressurised enough, he would succumb and help in organising it. "But if it doesn’t, we the proponents will organise, meet and present our reports to the world at large," he added. On corruption, Ojukwu said "I think we must bring back capital punishment because this going to jail for so-called long period doesn’t do it." He said Nigerians must ensure that people in high positions are punished for any offence committed, while every effort must be made to ensure that no individual profits from ill-gotten wealth, which should be forfeited to government coffers.

    On the Igbo presidency issue, Ojukwu said if the Constitution is right and the structure less oppressive, he could see the possibility of Igbos not waiting to be president. "A lot of people talk about Igbo presidency and all that. I have never believed in Igbo presidency. What Nigeria needs is perhaps a president of Igbo extraction. What we want is the best man to rule Nigeria. What I would expect of that better man is to rule a country where everybody has a sense of belonging in it," he said.

    Ojukwu also spoke on General Ibrahim Babangida and his perceived ambition to return to power in 2007, saying the former military president "seems a nice personae." However, he said one investigation he would like to make was to ask "my friend" IBB the question "Oga, how come you made so much money?" He said he declared Ohaneze dead because of its "half and half posture," arguing that an organisation that wants to lead a political struggle of the people should be courageous enough to become and be known as a political organisation.

    He declared both the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as unserious, recalling that a lawmaker while speaking on the floor said, "we were given N10 million," noting that nothing has been done about these by the two bodies. Asked who will bell the cat, Ojukwu said "if they give me the job, I’ll do it."

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