The apex Igbo socio-cultural association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has said its chairman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, did not refer to the Yoruba race as political rascals.
While speaking at an event marking the one year in office of the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, on Saturday, Iwuanyanwu said those destroying Igbo properties in Lagos were “political rascals.”
Reacting to the comment, Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-political group, said it has called on the Ohanaeze to warn Iwuanyanwu not to insult the Yoruba race.
Afenifere said it has also reached out to Iwuanyanwu to seek clarification on why he “made the comment and whether his view is a reflection of what Ohanaeze Ndigbo indeed thinks of the Yorubas.”
However, a statement issued on Sunday by the national publicity secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Alex Ogbonnia, said Iwuanyanwu’s speech was twisted by “insidious minds” who wished to create a rift between the Igbo and the Yoruba ethnicities.
“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.
“This has mischievously been twisted to imply that ‘Yoruba people are political rascals and that we will fight them.’ This is quite from the insidious minds of those who wish to create a rift between the Igbo and the Yoruba ethnicities
“At no time in history, has there is often a tug of war between two major groups; mostly the good people with conscience on one hand and the devious insidious minds on the other,” he said.
Ogbonnia said Iwuanyanwu is a detribalised Nigerian who would never denigrate the Yoruba race.
“So, as much as some mischief makers will twist the speech by Iwuanyanwu, the truth remains that he holds the Yorubas in a very high esteem and he used the Awka event to express it.
“It is important to highlight that Chief Iwuanyanwu is a renowned patriotic detribalised Nigerian who has enjoyed the fidelity, confidence, solidarity, and support of the Yoruba when he was in active business and politics.
“Iwuanyanwu in all his private and public discussions has often commended the profound Yoruba cultural values, intellect, and hospitality. He applauds the cordial relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba, citing that several Igbo are integral parts of various Yoruba communities,” Ogbonnia added.
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