Leader of the Ohaneze Council of Elders, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has denied ever referring to the Yorubas in Nigeria as “political rascals.”
According to Premium Times, Iwuanyanwu was quoted to have said: “Now, I saw the various associations coming here from Lagos. I want to let our people in Lagos to know that on Wednesday, I called a meeting of the Ohanaeze Council of Elders Worldwide and we x-rayed the events in Lagos, and I want to tell you that people attended from America, Canada, Europe, and Nigeria. So I want those who are from Lagos to go home and tell those in Lagos that we have resolved that never again can we allow anybody to take the life of any innocent Igbo person. All of us are going to fight the person. We are going to fight the person. Never again!
“We are in Nigeria and we have invested in Nigeria, and our investments are so much. We are not going to take it when people tell us to go; we are not going anywhere. And I want to tell those who are in Lagos to realise that there is no war between us and Yorubas. Yorubas are just political rascals, and we are going to handle them.”
But reacting, the billionaire businessman said those twisting what he said in Awka on Saturday at the first anniversary of Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s administration in Anambra State are blackmailers and syndicates behind the misery and sadness brought upon the Igbos residing in Lagos during the just concluded general elections.
Iwuanyanwu in a statement on Monday appealed to the Yorubas to fish out those behind the blackmail and fake news against him, warning that such people do not represent the Southwesterners positively.
Below is the statement in full:
REFUTAL OF MALICIOUS & WICKED FAKE NEWS IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA
My attention has been drawn to a fake news circulating on social media completely misrepresenting the statement I made at Awka Anambra State in connection to the killings, destructions of properties and harassment of Igbos in Lagos during the recent elections. My statement was covered live by Arise Television, Channels and many other electronic and print media houses. All Nigerians of goodwill who cares should get the true transcript of my statement from any of these media houses.
I want to make it abundantly clear that at no time did I make the statement credited to me by blackmail circulating on the social media that Yorubas are political rascals as this was fraudulently manipulated. I want to warn all perpetrators of this fake news that it is a criminal offence to circulate fake news against a peace-loving Nigerian. For the avoidance of doubt, I am a senior citizen who has meritoriously served Nigeria. Nigeria in appreciation has also honoured me with three National Honours namely: MEMBER FEDERAL REPUBLIC (MFR), OFFICER FEDERAL REPUBLIC (OFR), and COMANDER FEDERAL REPUBLIC (CFR). In my State Imo, I have been honoured with GRAND COMMANDER STATE of IMO (GCSI). By this my name is in the hall of fame in Imo State. The Seven Igbo Speaking States namely: Rivers, Delta, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States have also honoured me with the Traditional Title of AHAEJIAGAMBA NDIGBO. I am indeed the first Igbo man to be so honoured. As a professional Engineer, I have been honoured with numerous merit Awards including institution of an annual lecture series in my name by my Colleagues in appreciation of my contributions to Engineering, Science Society and Humanity. I am the Grand Patron of many youth organizations in the Country. Most of my close friends who have influenced my business and professional life are from Northern and Western parts of Nigeria. For instance, I am the Balogun Babaguwan of Ibadan land. I have also been honoured with Chieftaincy titles by numerous Yoruba Obas. I am no doubt an honorary citizen of Yoruba land. I have many personal friends and staff of my various companies including directors who are Yorubas. Most of them played major roles in shaping my economic destiny. I therefore do not have any reason whatsoever to insult Yoruba tribe whom I regard with great respect.
What I did at the ceremony was to admonish Igbos who felt threatened by various attacks in Lagos that they have no cause to worry because there are no problems between Igbos and Yorubas. I therefore told them to stay in Lagos and go about their normal businesses. I did however mention to them that the attackers are political rascals and their action does not reflect the good relationship between Yorubas and Igbos.
Having said this, on a personal note, I must comment as follows: I felt very sad that a Nigerian should be denied his democratic right to vote any candidate of his choice because of his tribe. What happened to Igbos in Lagos was in the press and Igbos are very grateful to those distinguished and well meaning Yorubas who rose up to speak against the killings, injuries and destruction of properties of Igbos in Lagos only because they voted the candidates of their choice.
Ironically, some of the Igbos who lost their properties and who were wounded were not only members of Labour Party but that of some other political parties. This is because I am aware that most Igbos in Lagos voted for the incumbent Governor who in their opinion said the Governor did well in the past four years and deserves to be given another opportunity. Ohanaeze Ndigbo does not own any political party and we do not control any political party where our members belong. In effect people are free to choose, work for, and vote for any political party of their choice and that’s why Igbos are virtually in all the political parties in the Country. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that the peddlers of this fake news are part of the syndicates that brought misery and sadness to the Igbos resident in Lagos. I am appealing to the Yorubas to fish them out and know that they are portraying Yorubas in a bad light.
On Personal basis , one of my best daughters is married to a prominent Yoruba family in Ibadan, Oyo State. My son in Law and his wife have lived together for over 20 years. This Union has produced four adorable children. I am very proud of my son-in-law. The children of this marriage are Yorubas and not Igbos by our culture and tradition. I will not be happy if at any time any group of people discriminate against them in Yoruba land because their mother is Igbo. Over the years many Yoruba and Igbo families have intermarried. It is therefore very important to all men of goodwill to arrest the present situation which if not arrested may cause social unrest.
CHIEF DR. E. C. IWUANYANWU,CFR,OFR,MFR,FNICE,FNSE,GCSI,KSC
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