The National Chairman of United Progressives Party (UPP), Chekwas Okorie, has said that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) remains his political son but his quest for separate state of Biafra will not do the Igbo man any good.
According to him, Kanu has not been exposed to the place and spread of Igbos in Nigeria which would have convinced him that secession was not the best option for the Igbo nation.
Okorie also debunked allegations that there is a relationship between UPP and IPOB.
In a chat with journalists in Enugu, Okorie said: “First and foremost, UPP is a political party registered with INEC in line with the Nigerian laws to acquire power to improve the welfare of the Nigerian people. And in that registration, UPP like other political parties has a constitution derived from the constitution of Nigeria.
“It, also, has a manifesto, but, it is the manifesto that stands it out from all the other political parties. So, haven said this; there is no special relationship between UPP and Biafran agitating groups, because we are aware that the Nigerian law does not permit a political party to have a direct relationship with any group whatsoever.
“And for Nnamdi Kanu as a person, he is more like my political son and he does not dispute that. I gave him political limelight and I exposed him politically and appointed him the chairman of APGA in 2002, and, he remained loyal to my own chapter of APGA even during the crisis and up to 2011.
“And the only point of departure is the new orientation he has canvassed and continued to canvass which is, ‘we want to exit from Nigeria’, that is where we defer.
“I do not think secession will do the Igbo man any good. He is a young man; he has not been exposed to the Igbo location in Nigeria. I have had the privilege of traveling round this country for a minimum of 15 times.
‘I have had the privilege of meeting the Igbo settlements in Gusau, in Northern part of Nigeria in the year 2000 where they have lived for over 400 years. And that was the year I was invited as a special guest of honour to the Igbo Day celebration in Gusau. The late Odumegwu Ojukwu was also invited; Dr. Alex Ekwueme was also invited.
“But remember that the year 2000 was the height of Sharia, so it was risky for most people to travel to the north, because of fear. But I said to myself that there are people leaving there and they are human beings. I was the only one from the South East that honoured that invitation and I never regretted it till tomorrow. This is because it really opened my eyes.
“I also found out that it was the same year that the caliphate had their bi-centenary celebration in Nigeria. That means 200 years of entering Sokoto to establish the caliphate by their leader, Usman Dan Fodio. He came all the way from Senegal through Niger Republic, then to Sokoto.”