Ohanaeze Ndigbo, apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has condemned the attack on Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark, by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Clark had attacked IPOB by saying the group must be dreaming if it believes the South-south region will join the agitation for the Republic of Biafra.
IPOB, in a swift reaction, had said Clark does not speak for the people of the South-south, describing him as a general without foot soldiers.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) had subsequently asked Igbo leaders to condemn the statement by IPOB statement and apologise to Clark.
In a statement on Sunday, Alex Ogbonnia, national publicity secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the people of South-east respects old age, which it said has huge significance in Igbo tradition.
Ogbonnia described IPOB’s comment as youthful exuberance, noting that Clark loves Igbos and has contributed to the development of the region.
“The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to remarks by the spokesman of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),” Ohanaeze said.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo makes it abundantly clear that the Igbo extol 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 old are deemed to represent the Igbo ancestors here on earth and thus are often celebrated.
“It is a public knowledge that youths, all over the world, have some common characteristics which include impetuosity and exuberance. As much as the effervescence and exuberance of the youths are the essential hallmarks of a growing society, it is still the duty of the elders to moderate the excesses and idiosyncrasies of the youth.
“Let it be placed on record that Chief Edwin Clark is one of the few detribalised Nigerians with an unassailable love for the Igbos. He has in more than several ways demonstrated an intense passion for the Igbo. It was Chief Clark who facilitated the renovation and equipment of the Queens School, Enugu with state of the art 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), Prof. Gloria Chukwukere, etc, are some of the testaments of Clark magnanimity.
“Since then, Clark has remained one of the Patrons of the School to the present day. It was Clark who had spoken vehemently against the Igbo marginalisation and has propelled the concept of a president of Nigeria from the South East. It was Clark who had stated that the agitations by the Igbo are justified, among several others.
“It is important to urge our youths to refrain from remarks capable of putting the Igbo relationships with our highly valued neighbours in avoidable distress. The Igbo agitation, no doubt, is genuine but restraints, persuasions and cordial inter-ethnic relations are required to sustain the supports of other ethnic groups in Nigeria.”