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The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), the apex socio-political youth organization in the South East geopolitical zone comprising youth leaders from Southeast has reacted to the recent comment credited to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) disparaging Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu in the media.
In a statement by the President General of the group, Goodluck Ibem and Secretary General, Kanice Igwe, the youth group said they would not tolerate further insult on Iwuanyanwu by IPOB, affirming that he deserves an accolade for his roles in developing Igbo land and Nigeria and not insults.
‘It sounds absurd and ludicrous to any discerning mind to cast aspersions on Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, one of Igbo leader who have worked all his life to develop and liberate his people.’ Ibem said.
Recalling what Iwuanyanwu said that led to the response of IPOB, Ibem said that he was merely advising the group to emulate people like the late Ojukwu in every action they take and should not be hasty in conclusions.
But IPOB he said misconceived the advice of Iwuanyanwu and rather reigned insults on him for playing a fatherly role.
‘Igbo youths will not allow IPOB to drag the good name of our finest Igbo Leader to the mud. The barrage of attack on the media by Indigenous People of Biafra over Chief Iwuanyanwu’s advice to IPOB to emulate Ojukwu and seek advice from elders is baseless, unwarranted, unfortunate and reckless.’
Responding to the claim that Iwuanyanwu underdeveloped Igbo land , the group said ‘During the administration of Gen. Ike Nwachukwu as military Administrator of former Imo State, Chief Iwuanyanwu chaired a committee on works and infrastructure which recommended the building of Imo airport.
‘He argued that an airport will open up business opportunities for Ndigbo and connect them to the outside world. At a stage, when the project was suspended for lack of funds and the Military Administrator held a meeting with the people and told them that N2 million naira was needed to complete the project.
‘Chief Iwuanyanwu single handedly paid the N2 million to the government which led to the completion of the project. The N2 million he paid at that time is more than $2 million dollars of today. He gave it free of charge because he wanted the good and development of his people. Today, that airport have provided lots of employment and business opportunities for Ndigbo. Even those casting aspersions on this respected Elder statesman are beneficiaries of his benevolence.
‘After the completion of the Airport, it was not commissioned to any use because the federal government at that time argued that it was very close to port Harcourt Airport and so there was no funds to bring in new aircrafts to the Owerri Airport. Immediately Chief Iwuanyanwu established Oriental Airlines and brought in six (6) Aircrafts that operated between Owerri, Abuja, Kano, and Maduguri .
‘Other Airlines found the route profitable and joined Oriental Airlines. Today Imo Airport is a beehive of commercial activities. Courtesy of this great man of honour – Chief Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Iwuanyanwu.
‘How can IPOB wrongly accuse such a man of good conscience of underdevelopment of Igboland and not executing road contracts given to him by the government. IPOB should stop the insults on Igbo leaders who have sacrificed so much for the betterment of Ndigbo.
‘Chief Iwuanyanwu at some point was the highest employer of Labour in the South East geopolitical zone. All his businesses were established in Igboland. He established the Champion Newspapers with it’s head office in Owerri, Imo State. It is common knowledge that only men of goodwill bring their hard earned investment home in order to provide gainful employment and help alleviate the status of their people.
‘Who among those challenging Iwuanyanwu established a simple pure water company to employ our teeming unemployed youths. Iwuanyanwu has always stood in the gap and the people are happy with him.
‘In other to support Igbo youths who have great talent in sports, he established the Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club. The club for many years dominated the lead and was able to produce great football Legends like Kanu Nwankwo, Etim Esin, Benedict Iroha, Thompson Oliha, Uche Okechukwu and other great Igbo sons and daughters who made a niche via football. Ndigbo are indeed grateful to him for his selfless service to mankind.
‘We call on IPOB to stop the unwarranted insult on our revered Igbo leader and learn how to respect their elders’.
Meanwhile, Iwuanyanwu has expressed disappointment on the utterance of IPOB, saying that he list expected such from a group he has backed when they were proscribed and labelled terrorist.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on media, Ben Osuagwu, He said ‘it is very well known that during the epic of kill IPOB, kill Nnamdi Kanu, Iwuanyanwu stuck out his neck to condemn the act by pointing out that both IPOB and Kanu were armless and harmless, he even condemn the proscription of IPOB, he condemned tagging it as a terrorist organisation.
‘After doing all these and more , one finds it difficult that the organisation will wake up to cast aspersions on him, the language adopted by Emma Powerful to Iwuanyanwu does not represent the views of Nnamdi Kanu.’ Iwuanyanwu stated.
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