. Many faces of Gen Philip Effiong
By Our Reporter
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Elder Enefiok Ekefre, has alleged that the Igbos abandoned General Philip Effiong who was said to have eventually died a Biafran rebel.
This came after the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, met with the Professor Uzodinma Nwala-led Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), last week, as part of his consultations towards the agitation for Biafra Republic.
Speaking with Vanguard in Uyo,Ekefre chided the Igbo for abandoning Gen. Effiong, the vice president of the defunct Republic of Biafra who died in 2003 without Federal Government amnesty as was accorded Ojukwu.
He regretted that “the Igbo are expecting support forgetting that they all looked the other way and allowed Gen. Effiong who made the historic declaration that ended the bloody civil war to live and die a Biafra rebel while Ojukwu died a Nigerian Army General.
“Gen. Philip Effiong, an Ibiono Ibom man, was the Vice President to Ojukwu. Mr M. U. Akpan, the Secretary to the Government of Biafra (SGB) was also from Ibiono.
“Gen. Effiong signed the instrument of surrender but when the Igbo were talking of payment of gratuity and pension, they only presented Gen. Ojukwu and refused to mention Gen. Effiong.
“He lived and died a Biafran military officer but Ojukwu’s rank was restored with salaries and gratuity paid from 1966. Today, the Igbo are complaining of marginalization and oppression, forgetting that justice and injustice should not be selective.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to make adequate compensation for the family of the late Gen. Effiong, noting that in the spirit of true reconciliation and justice, what was done to Ojukwu should be done to Gen. Effiong.
On agitation by IPOB, Ekefre said the agitation was ill-timed, stressing that “the Igbo had President Goodluck Jonathan from South-South, Senate President fromSouth-East, Secretary to the Government of the Federation government, Minister of Finance and Gen. Azubike Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff, and hey could not ask for their republic then.”
He lamented that the South- south, South East and South West are not united which is why they all went to the National Conference with different agenda.
“When President Jonathan inaugurated the national conference, the Ibos went to the conference with the Ibos agenda, Yoruba when with their own agenda while the core south south went with their various ethic agenda while the entire north with Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri and even the TiVs went with one northern agenda. They needed power which they have got. You can’t get what you didn’t ask for”
The politician lamented that even though Jonathan had reasons for the conference he inaugurated but he could not put together moral courage to implement even a portion of the recommendations until he was voted out of office.
Recall that Kanu, last week in Enugu, met with South-East governors and some elder statesmen from the zone, including Prof. Ben Nwabueze.
Alaigbo Development Foundation is a pan-Igbo organisation composed of some accomplished Igbo professionals, academics and the intelligentsia at home and in the diaspora with interest in Igbo cause.
ADF delegation at the meeting was led by its National President, Professor Uzodinma Nwala, while Kanu led the top hierarchy of IPOB to the meeting which lasted for about three hours.
Speaking shortly after, Kanu described it as “a family meeting,” saying: “I told them that I will update them periodically on what we are doing.”
The IPOB leader expressed delight that the Igbo elite had woken from their slumber and come to terms with realities over the need for the race to unite and take their destiny in their hands.
He said: “I am glad that the elite are coming on board. We are all elite, including the carpenter and the mechanic by the road side, who have understanding of the times, as long as they can make sense and articulate their viewpoints and channel them towards emancipating our people.
“Elitism is not purely about academics; it has to do with being able to articulate a sense of purpose for a people and pursuing it doggedly.”