Our Reporter, New York
Nigerian-born, US-based academic and author Dr. Cyril Orji, has described Simon Ekpa, the factional leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), as a clown who should not be taken seriously by anyone. The former professor of Computer Science made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Rudolf Okonkwo on 90MinutesAfrica on Sunday.
The author of the recently published book, “First Is Last,” narrated how the sit-at-home directives of Simon Ekpa forced him to relocate back to America from Owerri after his retirement. He said he had decided to return to Nigeria to start a new life after his retirement in the US.
“When COVID hit and I retired, I sold my house and moved all my things. I returned to Nigeria and moved to Owerri. I didn’t stay three days, and he declared a ten-day sit-at-home. My wife and I rushed out, saying we’re not going to have this,” he explained.
Additionally, Dr. Orji said although he does not call for the self-proclaimed ‘Prime Minister of the Biafra Government in Exile’ to be killed, he “should have been told in a language that he will understand that he is destroying lives,” as he believes that Simon Ekpa is being paid to cause trouble in Igboland.
Cyril Orji, who holds a doctorate degree in computer science, identified the absence of Igbo leadership and the treatment of Igbo people as second-class citizens within Nigeria as factors that promote the relevance of Simon Ekpa and his activities in the South-East region. He argued that it would be even more difficult for a Biafran secession to succeed today than in 1966 because all the security apparatus is now concentrated in the northern part of the country.
Commenting on a passage in his book “First Is Last” regarding Nigeria’s pre-independence negotiations, Mr. Orji argued that if Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe had toed the path of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Nigeria might have entered independence as a “confederacy of regions” and the subsequent civil war could have been averted.
“One of the characters in my book suggested that if Zik had the foresight that Sir Ahmadu Bello had, then the entire Aburi Accord would have been unnecessary because Nigeria could have entered independence as a confederacy of regions,” Dr. Orji noted.