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IPOB Members Are Icons, Not Rebels, says Ayo Opadokun

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In view of the federal government’s eagerness to dialogue with armed rampaging Fulani Herdsmen, the elder statesman and secretary-general of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Ayo Opadokun, appealed to extend dialogue to the Indigenous People of Biafra.

He also described members of the group as icons rather than rebels.

Opadokun disclosed this on a chat with Daily Independent, appealed to the Federal Government to respond favourably to the agitation of IPOB so as to prevent them from distracting the government.

Opaduku,who is convener of Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER), noted that he didn’t support the method employed by IPOB in pressing home their demands, the Federal Government should grant them audience and address the issues so as to avoid further distractions.

While addressing the group’s activities during President Muhammadu Buhari’s travel to Japan for the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), he said “To people in government, IPOB members are rebels but to those who are fighting for self-determination, they are doing something that is totally acceptable.”

Acknowledging the struggle intensified by IPOB he said no one begs for freedom rather fight for it adding that Nigerian government should listen their cry.

“Nobody gives you your right anywhere in the world, you must fight for it every day.

“If that is one of the ways by which they could do so, the Nigerian government should do what is right and respond favourably if they don’t want unnecessary distraction.

“I may not support the method employed by IPOB because there may be other better means with which they can press home their demands.

“You don’t condemn agitations. To you, they are rebels. For the cause they are fighting, they are icons because if what they are fighting for succeeded, you would not continue to have monopoly on what you currently hold.

“Any state that has been held by sheer force of arms has never lasted. Where in the world map is USSR today?”

“The struggle for self-determination is the anthem for this millennium. Any ruler anywhere in the world who imagines that he can continue to use force to hold the people together is deceiving himself. Such a leader is living in a fool’s paradise. The problem you have is that some of our people are hypocrites in all manifestations.

“They want to eat and remain with any government of the day so that they can have contracts, so they don’t want to be heard. Even though they share the same feelings with what those IPOB members are doing, they also want to be in the good books of the government.

“No society can ever develop with that mindset. In the ideological world, the society is a kind of class struggle. The lower cadre are the last, the middle class and the wealthy or noveau riche at the top.

“Usually, in any society that will develop or grow, it is the middle class that will force down certain concessions from the noveau riche that will percolate to them and them to the lower class.”

“But when those who are in the middle class are busy with agitations to get contracts for themselves, marry more wives, buy customised cars, if that is the preponderance of the middle class of any population, then that society has lost it. That is what has happened to Nigeria.

“Through the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), the middle class has been totally wiped out by former president, Ibrahim Babangida. The ones who really could take up that place, what they are busy doing is ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.

“So, there is nobody to care for the ordinary man who is at the lower rung of the society any longer and this is what has led to the state of extreme poverty in Nigeria.”

Speaking on the poverty rate facing Nigeria, he said it unacceptable, warned on the long term effect which he said may come as thunderbolt.

“The state of poverty in Nigeria is terribly unacceptable and it has long term effects. It may not happen today, but I can tell you that the level of poverty is so intolerable that anything can be the immediate thunderbolt that will ginger up reaction of the people.”

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