An elder statesman and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has stirred controversy by openly declaring himself a Biafran during the weekend.
Mr. Iwuanyanwu also decried the prosecution of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu and others by the Federal Government for demanding sovereignty for Igbos.
The elder politician who had contested for the presidency of the country said while the Hausas are Arewas and the Yorubas are Oduduwas, he maintained the Igbos are Biafrans.
Mr. Iwuanyanwu made his position known in Amokwe, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, during a condolence visit to the family of late political scientist, Godwin Odenigwe.
He was, however, reacting to the recent release of the IPOB leader by a Federal High, Abuja Division
“I have always said there was no reason for detaining Nnamdi Kanu. In the law of this country, which I know, you can’t be tried for treason unless you have arms,” Mr. Iwuanyawu began.
“Nnamdi Kanu didn’t commit treason. Treason is when you take up arms against the government. He didn’t take up arms and there was no reason for detaining him.
“Everybody has the right to say I want Biafra. For God’s sake, I’ve made it clear to people that Biafra is for the Igbos. Hausas are Arewas, Yorubas are Oduduwas and we are Biafrans.
“The problem we have is because we fought a war and people are ashamed to say they are Biafrans. I am not afraid to say I am a Biafran. Biafra is part of Nigeria, Arewa is part of Nigeria, Oduduwa is part of Nigeria; all of us are there.”
He argued that a case of treason could only have arisen where a person from any part of Nigeria took up arms to secede.
“If one is just saying by words of mouth, it’s just an ordinary expression of public opinion. There is no law that makes such a person get convicted by just saying we want to secede. It’s part of the right of expression,” he argued further.
“If I come and say I want Biafra, it’s no offence. To the best of my knowledge, Kanu didn’t use any violent means. All he said was that he wanted Biafra.
“He shouldn’t have been detained in the first place and I said it long ago. I said the government is making him a hero but people misquoted me and said I asked government to jail him.
“I said by putting an innocent person in prison, they were making him a hero. So, Nnamdi Kanu is now is a hero because of all this. He never committed any offence and shouldn’t have been in detention in the first place.”
Mr. Iwuanyawu said after the civil war, some people in parts of Igboland do not want to talk about Biafra, but maintained nobody can wish away the idea just like Oduduwa or Arewa.