In an atmosphere of a free and fair referendum on Biafra Republic, many Igbos will vote against seceding from Nigeria, Chief Frank Kokori has opined.
Kokori, who’s the former Secretary General of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Tribune Online in Warri, Delta State.
The septuagenarian said most of the Biafra agitators hardly knew what they actually wanted for their people.
Besides, the Abacha nightmare in the days of the struggle for the actualisation of June 12, 1993 presidential election, asserted that Biafra was a mirage because the South East zone is landlocked.
He noted that being the most successful commercial people, the Igbos will lose more if they broke away from the country, adding that they own the choicest properties in major cities in the country.
Kokori debunked the allegation that only Igbos were being marginalised, saying every tribe and zone in the country experiences marginalisation one way or another, especially in the area of hunger and poverty.
According to the fiery activist, who spent four years in prison over agitation for June 12, the most marginalised people are actually the northerners because of squalor and mortgaged future by their elites.
This, he argued, is evident in the high rate of beggars among the northerners as against barely any among Igbos and a few amongst Yorubas across the country.
“The Biafra agitation is being handled by people who do not even know what they want.
“I for one know that if you allow all the Igbos in this country to go into a free and fair referendum, they won’t vote that Biafra should leave Nigeria.
“Igbos will lose more. Their land is a landlocked zone of the country, but they are the most successful commercial people across the country.
“Go to Abuja, Lagos, Kano, PortHarcourt, everywhere, they own most of the choice properties.
“Even here in Warri, they own properties. What can they do in their landlocked zone?
“You see, it’s just that the young people there don’t know. You see, everybody felt marginalised not only the Igbos.
“Because if you don’t have a good job, you don’t have food to eat, you don’t have medical facilities, you’re purely marginalised.
“Who are the most marginalised people, they are the northerners! They are so poor and a few of their elites loot everything from them.
“The average Igbo man and Yoruba man lives better than the average northern Nigerian. Check it. You don’t see an Igbo man begging on the streets.
“Yorubas are very few begging on the streets. Every other person, except the rich, in the north begs.
“What we need do is to build a good country of justice and equity.
“We can’t keep talking of breaking up. Why did America fight their civil war? They won’t allow one state to break away.
“California and Texas are 10 times bigger and richer than Nigeria. They won’t allow them to break away.
“They give them some freedom and the wealth is being properly distributed,” Kokori noted.
He accused the elites in the South South, where he hails from, four impoverishing their people in spite of stupendous derivation funds given to the region.
“Look at the 13 per cent they give our people in the South South, do they manage it well? They steal almost 80 per cent of the money. They don’t do anything with it.
They deliberately leave the people in abject poverty, but the elite have fat bank accounts in Europe and elsewhere.
That’s why I said some of us are disillusioned and depressed with what’s happening in the country.
But we still have hope. We know what we’ve passed through in the past,” he disclosed.