The Hope Democratic Party has attributed the anti-Igbo threat by a coalition of northern youths to the religious intolerance and ethnic chauvinism in the country which it said must be addressed urgently.
The party condemned the ultimatum asking Igbo to leave the north within three months, saying it was uncalled for.
The National Leader of HDP, High Chief Ambrose Owuru in a statement on Friday in Abuja stated that the ultimatum was symptomatic of the schism in the country which he said was made worse by the toxic campaign by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2015 general elections.
He noted that the division in the country needed to be addressed, stressing that various sectional groups are also hiding under religion to preach hatred and precipitate crisis in the country.
The former presidential candidate therefore called for a regulation of religion in the country to curb extremism and hate speech which he said could lead to social upheavals.
Owuru said, “We have said it clearly that it was the divisive campaign of the last general elections that caused this kind of threat and ultimatum against the Igbo by the northern youth group.
“It may get worse if we don’t talk about it. It is only when northerners are ruling that Easterners want to have Biafra and that is why the HDP is proposing ‘Chrislims,’ a programme that would unify the country.”
The party chieftain explained that the HDP planned to inaugurate ‘Chrislims’ to promote religious tolerance and institute love among the citizens.
Owuru explained that Chrislims was aimed at erasing the dividing line between practicing Christians and Muslims under one God.
“Our nation and the world are called upon to embrace the doctrine of Chrislims as part of a democratic culture and practice of the teachings of good, visionary and revolutionary leadership based on love and the fear of God as the foundation,” the HDP leader said.
Owuru stated that the Biafran agitators lacked ideology and should not be taken seriously, pointing out that none of them could step into the shoes of the former Biafran warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu.
“That war has been fought and won and it was about one Nigeria which we have accepted,there is no going back,” he stressed.
HDP helmsman spoke as the recalcitrant Arewa youths took Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna State, and Kashim Shettima of Borno to the cleaners, as well as alter their position slightly to call on international bodies to aid excision of the South-East.
The Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and the Northern Emancipation Network, among others, Thursday, in a statement signed by Mallam Abdulazeez Suleiman, blasted the two men.
“We are particularly disappointed by the treacherous positions assumed by Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai and Kashim Shettima who in pursuit of their blind ambition for the vice presidency, chose to side with the secessionist Igbo against the interest of peace-loving Nigerians.
“El-Rufai and Shettima are openly known to be waiting in the wings for Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari to die so they can further their plots to seek the presidency.
“It appears that characters like El-Rufai have no limit on how low they can fall in their inordinate desire to achieve their long-held dream of power grab at the expense of the peace, well-being and stability of our country.
“We would like to assure El-Rufai and his ilk that we shall continue to expose their recalcitrant treachery and opportunistic proclivities.
“We also assure them that the drive for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria in which the Igbo are not partners, will continue unabated.
“Similarly, we are irked by the hordes of lies and misleading innuendos issued by Shettima, ostensibly on behalf of 19 northern governors in which he referred to us as faceless and violent.
“By our antecedents and track record, no politician or leader of honorable pedigree and impeccable character will associate us with such fabrications and this goes to prove that Shettima has disconnected from reality as he gets intoxicated by immoral wealth and property acquisition at the expense of people of the state suffering the devastation of Bolo Haram.”
The groups said further: “It should be recalled that on Tuesday June 6, 2017 this coalition led several other northern groups to review the position of the north in the wake of the widening and escalating movement for secession orchestrated by groups in eastern Nigeria.
“At the end, we came up with a position paper which we presented as the Kaduna Declaration in which we primarily called on the authorities and the international community to step in to formalise the actualisation of the dream of a people who say in words and in action, and the whole nation appears to concur, that they are Biafrans not Nigerians.
“We further urged those Biafran nationals to relocate from the north to their new-found country in order to allow other people have peace.
“We are today compelled to make this further statement to clarify our stand on some issues that trailed the Kaduna Declaration made.
‘After meeting to review the fallout of that Tuesday’s Declaration, our groups have arrived at the following fundamental observations : some elements have, for reasons best known to them, mischievously distorted the intent of our original script by alluding such words as ‘violence, ‘ ‘threat, ‘ ‘war’ and ‘mass action’ to it.
“We find this mischievous because as cultured, thoroughbred northerners, we have never anywhere and at any time, under whatever circumstances, called anybody to violence as a means of conflict resolution. In strict observance of that tradition, we never employed violence as a means of pursuing our interest and at every opportunity, we opt for peaceful engagements and implore people to eschew violence in all its ramifications.
“This informs why, a majority of discerning Nigerians, not necessarily northerners alone, understood and identified with our express call for the Biafrans to be allowed to actualise their long-held secessionist aspiration.”
“We wholeheartedly endorse the moves made variously by our leaders to allay those fears and urge people to be peaceful and law-abiding while at the same time resolutely insisting on having the right thing done by allowing the Igbo to have and move to their dream country in accordance with the universal fundamental right to self-determination.
“We restate our determination and commitment to ensuring that the north will never partake in any contrived arrangement that would still have the Biafran Igbo as a component. We reiterate our call on Nigerian authorities and recognised international bodies such as the ECOWAS, AU and UN to hasten the initiation of the process for the final actualisation of the Biafran nation and with it the excision of the Igbo out of the present federation.”