THE violent conduct of some leaders and members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the days leading to the launch of Operation Python Dance 2, largely informed the decision of the South-East leaders and governors to dump the group, knowledgeable sources have said.
Investigations by Sunday Tribune indicated at the weekend that spirited efforts by the leaders to reach a truce with IPOB leader, NnamdiKanu, ahead of the governors’ meeting in Enugu last week were rebuffed.
It was gathered that the South-East caucus in the National Assembly also made spirited efforts to get Kanu to the negotiation table with the South-East leaders.
Sources confirmed that the National Assembly caucus made representation to Kanu and IPOB to intimate them that the request for referendum to resolve the quest for the state of Biafra was untenable because there was no such provision in the 1999 Constitution and that the caucus should be given time to push for constitution amendment but IPOB rejected the idea.
It was further confirmed that the IPOB leader recommended that the referendum can be conducted by the United Nations (UN), an option that was rejected by the lawmakers.
“IPOB was actually getting involved in all manners of things that started endangering the peace of the people of South-East. The governors and leaders had no choice than to seek for the prescription,” a source said.
Another source confirmed that calls by several leaders to make IPOB see reason were rebuffed.
Sources also said that some members of IPOB were already threatening politicians with ambitions in 2019, insisting that their elections would not be allowed.
Some of the said politicians were said to have been made to promise some financial contributions to safeguard their political careers.
Besides, it was gathered that the governors were threatened by the fear of declaration of emergency and the fear that lives would be lost as the Army had already been deployed.
“The leaders believed that the situation became tight with the deployment of the military. Though some of them believed that the Police could have handled the matter, the deployment of the military was already a source of danger and threat to peace,” another source said, adding that with the intransigence of Kanu on so many issues the governors had no other choice than to call for prescription of IPOB.
It was also revealed that many of the governors were threatened when they got hints that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) might be planning raids on the states on account of their management of the two tranches of Paris Club refunds paid to them by the Federal Government earlier in the year.
The states were requested to retire their expenses on the refunds to the Federal Ministry of Finance.
It was gathered that the statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari last week indicating that the Federal Government was unhappy at the management of the refunds was due to his insights into the report from the Ministry of Finance.
Investigations also revealed that the leaders were frustrated when Kanu stopped picking calls and responding to discussions.
Some meetings were said to have been set up between Kanu and the leaders in efforts to resolve critical issues.
But sources confirmed that Kanu left some of such meetings without uttering a word, while his group appeared set on its way.
“With the way things were going out of hand, the leaders were compelled by circumstances to prescribe the association, though some people believe that the governors should have only recommended the prescription to the Federal Government, it was apparent things were going out of hand,” a source in the know said.
Investigations further revealed that one of the reasons the South-East governors backed the proscription of IPOB was the fear of turning the commercial nerve centre of the South-East, Aba to a theatre of war, thus turning back the progress made on the made-in-Nigeria goods in recent years.
“We fear that with the presence of the soldiers already on the streets, the economy of the South-East and Aba will be at stake. A lot of our youths will get displaced and many of them will run to Lagos and other places.
“It would then be that the loss of Aba would be the gain of Lagos. We know our people are not ready for such disaster, “ a source said.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed on Saturday that the South-East caucus of the National Assembly will meet in Abuja on Tuesday to consider a position on the vexed issue of IPOB and crisis in the South-East.