The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere has condemned the statement credited to the Chairman, Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu, describing Yoruba people as ‘political rascals.’
OYO NEWS reports that a viral video clip captured Iwuanyawu to have made the remark, while speaking in Awka, Anambra State capital, on Saturday, during the first anniversary celebration of Governor Chukwuma Soludo.
Afenifere, in a statement issued by its National Organising Secretary, Apagun Omololu, on Sunday, faulted Iwaunyawu’s comment and called on the Ohaneze Ndigbo leadership to caution him.
The statement was titled, ‘Re: The divisive Awka comment by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.’
The statement read, “In the past few hours, Afenifere has been inundated with complaints by several Yoruba sons and daughters from all over the world regarding the comment made by the Chairman of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Council of Elders, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Their complaints were that at an event in Awka, Anambra State, on Saturday, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu made a comment ridiculing the Yoruba race.
“We have since reviewed the video recording of the event and our leadership will be reaching out to the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to seek clarification on why Chief Iwuanyanwu made the comment and whether his view is a reflection of what Ohanaeze Ndigbo indeed think of the Yorubas.
“We hereby call on Ohaneze to warn the chief not to insult the Yoruba. We are a proud nation. We are a hospitable race. All these should not be interpreted to mean weakness. In fact, it is a sign of being civilised. Enough of the provocation.
“In line with the Yoruba ethos of Omoluabi (good upbringing), we are hereby urging all Yoruba, and indeed all Nigerians, to remain calm and continue to show love to their Igbo compatriots and members of other ethnic nationalities. We are one people under one nation and one God. The Yoruba have a long history of association and partnership with our Igbo brothers and sisters. Our diversity is one of Nigeria’s strengths in the comity of nations and we should not allow politics, religion , ethnicity or anything else to divide us.
“We urge all Yorubas to continue to relate well with all other ethnic groups in Nigeria and abroad. Our common humanity is more important than the divisive antics or careless remarks of any individual or group. The Yorubas are known worldwide as promoters of peace, unity and orderliness. We should hold on strongly to those virtues in the interest of peace, progress and prosperity in Nigeria and the world.”
But the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide on Sunday, in a statement, denied that Iwuanyanwu made the statement.
The statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Chiedozie Ogbonnia, described the statement credited to Iwuanyawu as a typical falsehood, fabricated by mischief makers to create inter-ethnic mistrust between the two ethnic groups.
Ogbonnia insisted that Iwuanyanwu only said, “I want to tell those in Lagos to realise that there is no war between us and the Yoruba. Those who attacked Ndigbo in Lagos recently are rascals who should be arrested.”
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to the fake news making the rounds that the Chairman, Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, (Ahaejiagamba) referred to the Yoruba as political rascals.
“This is a typical falsehood, fabricated by social media entrepreneurs, decorated with wings, expanded with venoms, injected with ethnic nuances, and propelled to fly to various corners, fronts, and heights in order to create inter-ethnic mistrust between the age-long partners in the social, cultural, religious and economic development of Nigeria. Indeed it is a lie from the pit of hell.”
The statement added that, “The emphasis is that we must not attribute the ugly event in Lagos to the good people of Yoruba ethnicity, rather, it was the handiwork of rascals, hooligans, spivs, charlatans, miscreants, and dregs of Lagos society.
“It is important to highlight that Chief Iwuanyanwu is a renowned patriotic detribalised Nigerian. He enjoyed the fidelity, confidence, solidarity, and support of the Yoruba when he was in active business and politics.”