•Soyinka calls for caution
From Fred Itua, Abuja and Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
Senators and members of the House of Representatives from the South East geopolitical zone have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the perceived marginalisation of Igbo in the country.
The lawmakers said the ongoing agitations in the region could only be addressed if the people were carried along in the scheme of things.
The Caucus spearheaded by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and the leader of South East Caucus in the National Assembly, Eyinnaya Abaribe, also called on the leadership and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to cease fire to enable them explore political solutions to the ongoing face-off.
In a communiqué released, yesterday, the lawmakers also rejected the categorisation of IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
It said if the tag was not challenged, it would have severe implications on the entire geopolitical zone. The Caucus argued the categorisation would affect the people in the area and foreclosure any dialogue with the relevant authorities.
The communiqué was jointly signed by Abaribe and Chukwuka Onyema who heads the House of Representatives Caucus of South East.
In a related development, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka urged the military to be cautious in its activities following its declaration of Operations Python Dance and Crocodile Smile in some sections of the country.
Soyinka who gave the charge at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, at a programme marking the 50th anniversary of popular poet, Christopher Okigbo, who died while fighting on the Biafran side during the Nigerian civil war in 1967, lamented that the humiliation and dehumanisation of the civilian population by the military was beginning to creep back into the nation.
“There has to be a way out of a repeat of war, but we are reaching a stage whereby, likes of Christopher Okigbo are putting their lives on the line again, which can lead to terrible consequences,” he said.
In his keynote address, Dan Izevbaye noted that the political tension of 1964 and 65 chased Okigbo out of poetry to join the Army because poetry did not change anything in the politics of the time.