NIGERIA: 2023: Any Igbo Man That Says IPOB’s Grievances Are Irrelevant Is An ‘Efulefu’ — Prof Benard
BY PETER OKUTU
ABAKILIKI, EBONYI (VANGUARD) - The Ebonyi State Governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Prof. Benard Ifeanyi Odoh, Thursday described any Igbo man or woman who pretends that the grievances of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB adherents were irrelevant as an “Efulefu” (foolish person).
Odoh who declared his intention to run for the position of the Governor of Ebonyi State in the 2023 Governorship election, during a press conference held in Abakaliki, added that “an avenue of dialogue must not just be created but remain open, genuine and altruistic until the case (raised by IPOB) is solved and closed.”
“To the leaders and followers of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), our strongly held view is that we will not shun them or cast them out into the wilderness.
“Any Igbo man or woman who pretends that the grievances of IPOB adherents are irrelevant or that Ebonyi is an isolated island unconcerned about those central issues is what Igbo people call efulefu or ohu. An avenue of dialogue must not just be created but remain open, genuine and altruistic until the case is solved and closed.”
The APGA Governorship aspirant who is not only a Professor of Geophysics but also, the former Secretary to the State Government, SSG, under the present administration, explained that his administration, through job and wealth creation intertwined with industrialization, would improve the living standard of Ebonyi people.
According to him, “Ebonyi State Civil Service has been on a lockdown for the past seven years. Hardworking staff have been denied their due promotions and privileges that accrue to their services. Pensioners and retirees who poured their energy and sweat into the service of our dear State are owed their benefits and made to undergo the worst of huddles to access what is rightfully theirs.
“This is totally unacceptable. Under my stewardship as your governor, regular and full payment of pensions and gratuities; regular payment of predictable-figure salaries, leave allowances and other entitlements such as monetised regular promotions and training allowances will be restored to the civil servants without negotiations or intimidation.”
“The Nigerian space has been turned crimson with the blood of innocent citizens, as insecurity has remained at the top of the many challenges that confront us as a country. Kidnapping, banditry and various acts of terror have become woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Here at home, virtually every community in Ebonyi State is grappling with one degree of violent crisis or another. What used to be the safest and most tranquil state in the country is now one of the most troubled and insecure.
“Poverty is at a previously unimaginable level. It is a tragic statistic that Nigeria overtook India as the poverty capital of the world a couple of years ago and here in Ebonyi, we are ranked as the third poorest state in the Nigerian federation.
“The healthcare system is still glittering in propaganda but actual healthcare delivery to suffering patients, whether in our rural communities or urban areas, remains a mirage.
“Our teachers at all levels languish in neglect and the pupils and students are paying a terrible price in ignorance and skills deprivation. Parents are left with a hopeless sense of despair when they watch the very pillars of their dreams crumble like a pillar of dust.
“Our rural communities, urban and semi-urban areas still languish in infrastructure deficits, lack of electricity, total lack of access to clean water (howsoever supplied or delivered) and the general absence of any form of modern development. It is indeed a pitiful state of affairs.
“A state that would otherwise be a breadbasket not just in terms of self-sufficiency but in terms of delivering sufficient produce to the entire southeast has seen its agricultural potentialities turned into a sickening instrument of propaganda and a vehicle of narrow-minded patronage.
“The chasm between the rich and the poor has grown so wide and so deep and shameful that our society is now practically divided between the haves and the beggars. Reducing the majority of a population to beggarly status is a shame to humanity and a mockery of God in Heaven who has endowed us with so much but which we have ruined with our ignorance, foolishness and wickedness.
“Youth unemployment has become immeasurable in our State. The yardstick to measure it no longer exists because, if graduates at all levels are achieving less than 10 per cent employment rate in all sectors, then statistics becomes useless. In the military, the principle which says that if you lose 10 per cent of your fighting force you can never win the war applies here. We have lost at least two generations of our youths to unemployment and desperation. It will require drastic, thoughtful and calculated measures to recover from this calamity. I believe that I am the man who can do