Members of Ethiopia’s Sidama minority voted on Wednesday in a self-determination referendum that tests Ethiopia’s ability to manage ethnic demands after more than a year of reforms.
The vote would carve an autonomous region for the Sidama, who comprise about 4% of Ethiopia’s 105 million people, out of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region, the most ethnically diverse part of Ethiopia. Other groups who share the region now are wary of disenfranchisement or violence.
Reacting on Friday, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, wondered why Nigeria is afraid to honour his persistent request for a referendum.
The IPOB leader accused the Nigerian media for being the reason why a demand for referendum is misconstrued as a call for war.
Kanu’s statement was contained in a post via his handle on micro-blogging site, Twitter.
He said “As Ethiopia conducts Referendum in its Sidama region, one is reminded of a similar UN supervised referendum through which Adamawa became part of Nigeria and Ambazonia a region of Cameroun.
“Today in the ahostorical(sic) Zoological Republic of Nigeria, any demand for referendum is deemed a call for war. Why? Because Nigerian media portrays it as such out of fear to please the all conquering brutal and murderous Abba Kyari regime in Aso Rock and the rest of the ruling illiterate terror sposoring Fulani Cabal.”
Kanu further said “The same referendum process that have for centuries guided the civilised union or separation of nations is too difficult for an average Nigerian in 2019 to comprehend. Yet some people claim there is a viable system of education in Nigeria. Very laughable indeed!”
Meanwhile, if the referendum passes as expected, the Sidama will control local taxes, education, security and laws in what would become Ethiopia’s 10th region.
Since Abiy took office in one of Africa’s most tightly controlled states, reforms have brought a more open society and a weaker ruling coalition, emboldening politicians advocating for more rights for their ethnic groups.
The 43-year-old prime minister has also moved to open up one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, and to make peace with neighboring Eritrea.
However, the openness has also brought a surge of long-repressed rivalries between ethnic groups, forcing more than 2 million people out of their homes and killing hundreds, according to the United Nations and monitoring groups.
Dukale Lamiso, head of the Sidama Liberation Front, an activist group, said if the voting were unfair or the referendum should fail to bring autonomy, “that would be a danger for Ethiopia itself because of course there will be violence”.
The vote will also be closely watched for its tone in the run-up to a national election next year, which Abiy has promised will be free and fair. Elections going back to 2005 have been marred by irregularities and violence.
“To Hell With Your Biafra” — Uwazuruike Roasts Nnamdi Kanu
Founder of Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has said that Biafra should not be realized if it would be a place where elder statesmen and religious leaders would be insulted and dehumanised.
He lambasted the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, for using the London-based Radio Biafra to haul insults and abuses on Igbo leaders and elders.
Uwazurike said this in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Social Media Matters, Comrade Emma N. Nnadi, and made available to reporters on Sunday.
He said Kanu, who he trained as one of his directors in the struggle, was now using the Radio Biafra to insult and blackmail “our elder statesmen like Chief Pete Edochie, Nnia Nwodo, Church and Muslim leaders in the country.”
Uwazuruike apologized to all the people that have been insulted by Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB and blackmailed by Radio Biafra or any other Biafra news channels anywhere in the world.
He stated that in the new world order, the right of individuals to freedom of worship is allowed, stressing that “as Biafrans, we are not religious bigots.
“If the new Biafra will be a country where the freedom of religious worship will not be guaranteed, to hell with it.
“If the new Biafra as a country will not be better than Nigeria, to hell with it.
“If the new Biafra will be a nation where someone like Chief Pete Edochie, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Alhaji Asari Dokubo (Elabo Edi Abali) and every other elders of the church in the land will be insulted and abused with all cheerful boldness, to hell with it” .
“Ndigbo should forgive the uncouth and irresponsible character” of Nnamdi Kanu.
Nnamdi Kanu Not Attacking Christianity, Says IPOB
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB has said its Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu never condemned Christianity but only attacked those they called fake pastors and men of God in Nigeria who refused to boldly speak up against the incessant and state sponsored killings and slaughtering of Christians in Nigeria.
According to IPOB, “Kanu’s condemnation was for religious leaders who deliberately kept quiet while Christians are killed in Nigeria, saying that does not amount to condemnation of Christianity, disrespect to Islam or any other religious body.
“He only condemned the evil of extermination of a particular religious group through state sponsored terrorism.
“Our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in his life, never condemned Christianity because he was raised in a Christian home by Christian parents and will never do such. He has respect for Christianity, Islam and other faith based religions around the world.
“”He is surrounded by Judeo-Christian faith practitioners of whom he is one. His parents died professing Judeo-Christian values. Only those fake pastors who believe solely in collecting tithes and offerings in churches without looking tangibly towards improving the lives of their fellow Christians in Nigeria are the ones behind this twisted narrative.
“May we also use this opportunity to appeal to all those who may have misunderstood our leader as disrespecting men of God or showing no regard for Christian doctrines to disabuse their minds and understand that he is only opposed to wolves in sheep clothing.
“Mazi Kanu, still has respect for honest men of God who have not compromised their divine mandate. Again, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is not against any Biblical injunctions practiced by genuine Christians in reverence to God Almighty.
“For the umpteenth time, our Leader does not hate Christianity and will never attack the faith. What he is against is the twisting of some Christian doctrines by selfish and greedy pastors to fleece their brainwashed followers”, a statement by IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful said.
The statement further said that “it is on record and confirmed by the Nigerian government that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been at the forefront of defending Christians in Nigeria more than any Christian group or pastors and men of God have ever done.
“IPOB spends a huge amount of money every month in highlighting the plight of persecuted Christians in Nigeria and beyond. Over 80% of the content of his message on Twitter is about persecuted Christians.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been filling that gap for the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, not having a single social media presence in this digital age even with all their resources.
‘‘Our leader is unwavering in his divine assignment to liberate Biafrans and also every suffering Nigerian, everybody must therefore, support his ongoing expository effort which is a mandate from God Almighty”.
Uwazuruike Never Collapsed MASSOB Structure To IPOB, Says BIG
Biafra Internal Government (BIG) has refuted report alleging that the founder and leader of Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) otherwise called Biafra Independent Movement (BIM), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike had collapsed MASSOB structure to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Chief Minister of the group, Anambra North zone, Elder Dennis Nworah who stated this Saturday in Onitsha, Anambra state, in company of Justice Minister, Damian Nzekwe and other executives, described the report as false, unfounded and figment of the imagination of enemies of MASSOB-BIM.
He said IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu was Uwazuruike’s boy who was sacked alongside others over their violent disposition in the struggle to actualize a sovereign state of Biafra.
He said, “Recall that Nnamdi Kanu and others were trained by Uwazuruike and because they were anti MASSOB they were sacked and Nnamdi Kanu went and founded IPOB.
“Therefore it is IPOB that will collapse its structure to join the main stream, its master, and not master joining apprentice/servant.”
Nworah maintained that MASSOB-BIM remained a non violence organization struggling to actualize a Biafran state following marginalization of the Igbo nation in a country they were part and parcel of.
The group further denied knowledge of receipt/ticket with the inscription, ‘Freedom Fighters’ being issued to transporters, including tricycle operators on behalf of MASSOB-BIM, warning that peddlers of such fake documents would be made to face the wrath of the law if caught.
It also urged the public to ignore such documents and report perpetrators to them or any nearest police station for necessary action.
“We can not allow such miscreants to drag the image of MASSOB-BIM to the mud, we need to deal with them. We have only one MASSOB-BIM in the whole world and as such anyone saying we are two says or does so at his own risk” the group warned.
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