The apex Igbo cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo has warned that Igbo should not be pushed to the wall by the federal government following the alleged holding down in house arrest of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by the police earlier in the week.
Speaking during a grand reception for Ekweremadu in Enugu, Enugu State, President of Ohaneze in Enugu State, Chief Alex Ogbonnia warned that the Deputy Senate President being the highest person the Igbos have in government, they would not allow any harm to befall him.
“Ndigbo are patient, dynamic, persevering and tolerant set of people, but they should not be pushed to the wall. If the situation continues, Ndigbo will no longer keep quiet and watch.
“In the first place, he was dragged to the court on the false allegation of forgery of Senate Standing Rule. Later on, they sent policemen to ransack his residence in May last year. The other time, they attacked him on the highway, and there have been a lot of other persecutions.
“We trooped out in our numbers to welcome him because we want the powers that be to know that Senator Ike Ekweremadu has a constituency. We want to let them know that when they make him unhappy, we are unhappy. We want to let them know that anything that happens to him, Igbos will not take it lightly.
“So, what you have seen here today is just like a sign that if anything happens to Senator Ekweremadu it will not be easy.
“To cordon his residence and restrict movement of any kind within his building is not the best. It is Gestapo-like. So, we have gathered, one, to give solidarity to him to let him know that we are solidly behind him, to let him know that wherever he is going we are with him, to let him know that he should continue to work hard as he had been doing to protect democracy by the way he has been doing it.
“He is already a strong voice not only in the National Assembly but he is the voice of Nigeria and we are in support of what he is doing in the National Assembly,” he said.
Ogbonnia told journalists at the solidarity rally that Ekweremadu being the highest person the Igbos have in government today had faced lots of persecution ever since he took up the office of the Deputy President of the Senate by election by his fellow senators.
Ekweremadu who returned to a heroic welcome in Enugu, three days after he was held under house arrest at his Abuja residence by security operatives vowed to sustain the struggle, insisting that he would never be intimidated by those he described as anti-democratic forces with no democratic credentials in their blood stream.
Thousands of residents of the Coal City state had trouped out to receive the lawmaker as they formed lines from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport through major streets to his Independence Layout residence, chanting solidarity songs.
Addressing newsmen in his house, Ekweremadu vowed to continue the struggle to rescue the nation from its present state of anomie and urged the federal government to tackle the plethora of challenges facing the nation instead of engaging in mindless clamp down of perceived political opponents.
He said despite the obvious desperation of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remained determined to return to power by 2019 in order to save the nation from imminent collapse.
“Well, what is special about it was that on Tuesday as you are aware there was a major assault on our democracy and this is the second time this happened around the National Assembly, especially the Senate.
“Earlier in the year, you are aware of the removal of the Senate mace by some hoodlums. And so for my people this is the second time this sort of assault in democracy is happening. And so they believe that they need to wake up and say that enough is enough.
“On Tuesday my house was besieged by over 200 security personnel in just an attempt to deliver a letter from EFCC. And we felt that that was too many for that kind of exercise. For me there is another sinister motive behind just delivering a letter. So I couldn’t go to do the work my constituents sent me to do, which is to represent them.
“We have had enough violence in Nigeria, we have had enough of death, and we don’t want to have it any more. Our attitude is that we need to peacefully have a change of this government so that Nigerians we have the benefits of democracy and the dividends of democracy will be all over the country.
“We want a country that we can live peacefully; we don’t want a situation where people will find it extremely difficult to go from Abuja to Kaduna; that is unacceptable. So we are looking for a situation where live happily and are conscious of the fact that there is a government responsible enough to protect them and be able to ensure that their lives and property as enshrined in the constitution and the primary purpose of government is enthroned. We want to see a situation where there is rule of law, where the government will take it for granted that court orders need to be obeyed without any protest by people in losing it.”