Okezie Ikpeazu, Governor of Abia state, says it is up to the federal government to defend the decision to brand the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation.
Speaking in an interview with The Osasu Show, Ikpeazu said south-east governors only proscribed the activities of the group to douse tension in the region.
He said labelling the group a terrorist organisation has far-reaching consequences.
“Put the action of the south-east governors within context. It became expedient for the south-east governors to look at their mandate,” Ikpeazu said.
“My mandate as a governor is to secure life and property of not only Abians but everybody that is living and doing business within the geographical space called Abia.
“So at that time, my thoughts were that I should protect even those agitating for an independent country called Biafra and others too. I come from a part of the country where the lives and property of visitors within your gate is perhaps more important than your own life.
“My duty and responsibility as at that day was to make sure that I avert bloodshed of monumental proportion.
“People engage in all types of agitations across Nigeria. But for me as governor, I supported proscription as at that day because we did not want people to gather under one location or another under the aegis of IPOB.
“But going forward to say this group is a terrorist group has international and far-reaching consequences. We never said so.
“I don’t think the Igbo are getting a fair deal in this country. There is no other ethnic group in this country’s post-war experience that believes in one Nigeria more than the Igbo.
“The information that is available to the federal government is not available to me and if that is what they have said, it is up to them to defend it.
“But for me as a person, sitting in my small corner, I can speak on any other Nigerian; ‘oh, the decision is a hasty decision’ but looking at it from the prism of the federal government is another angle.”
Speaking on Abia, Ikpeazu said he would not waste time blaming the past administrations for the state of things.
“Abia, like every other state, had problems. And I do not think that the proper thing for me to do is to begin to dwell on what happened during Orji Uzor Kalu’s regime or that of Theodore Orji,” Ikpeazu said.
“My concern should be what can I do. It would be foolhardy on my part to spend the last two years talking about what my predecessor did or did not do.
“There is no god fatherism in Abia state. I do my job. There is one governor and my predecessors know where to draw the line.
“My care is what is happening to Abia state, a state that God has put under my charge, under the circumstance my record of performance just like every other persons record is in public domain and history and posterity will judge and rate each and every one of us. I won’t like to appoint myself a judge over anybody.
“Would you believe that since inception, even with those who claimed that they have done this and that for Abia, no single flyover is in Abia except the one we are doing now. And the people are excited that somebody can take up that kind of project in an economy that is undergoing recession.”