The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has sympathised with the now-proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), stating that they had legitimate concerns and needed to have been drawn closer, before renaming the group, “Indigenous People of Brighter Nigeria (IPOBN)”.

The monarch said this on Friday when he paid a courtesy visit to Okezie Ikpeazu, Governor of Abia State, as part of activities surrounding his primary mission of celebrating the new yam festival with Eberechi Dick, chairman of the South-East council of traditional rulers.

He also frowned at the proscription of IPOB, saying that members of the group did not deserve being regarded as terrorists as they had real grievances.

“There is something that is bordering them; there is something that is making them to cry”, he said.“We should not throw them away; we should draw them closer because the youth of this country are the future, the energy, they are the heartbeat of this country”, he said.

Supporting the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on restructuring, Ogunwusi said Yorubas shared the same view on the way forward for Nigeria.

“We must chart the course of doing things with positive energy. I want to let you know that you are not alone in this.

“We stand by you positively in a very progressive manner. We stand by you; we all must come together to build a united Nigeria. We don’t want any war; we don’t want any disintegration”, the royal father stated.

Ikpeazu said he was honoured to host the respected traditional ruler. He praised the ooni for “being in tune with national issues and making positive contributions for national rebirth”.

”I am a firm believer that this country is strong today because of its diversity.

“The problem confronting Nigeria remains the inability to harness the potentials and weld together the diversities to create a strong, united country”, the governor added.