The Apex Igbo Socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has said that Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu never referred to Yorubas as political rascals, describing the report as a lie from the pit of hell.
Ohaneze said the report was “a typical falsehood, fabricated by social media entrepreneurs, decorated with wings, expanded with venom, injected with ethnic nuances to create inter-ethnic mistrust between the age-long partners in the social, cultural, religious and economic development of Nigeria.
The group said this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, in Enugu on Sunday.
Mr Ogbonnia said: “Our attention has been drawn to the fake news making the rounds that the Chairman, Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, referred to the Yoruba as political rascals.
He denied that Mr Iwuanyanwu ever made such a comment while speaking in Awka, Anambra State, on Saturday during an event to mark the one year in office of Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the governor of Anambra state.
Mr Ogbonnia said Mr Iwuanyanwu only drew the attention of the audience and the general public to the fact that Ndigbo and Yoruba people were neither quarrelling nor fighting, implying that the Yoruba were a friendly group of people.
He said Mr Iwuanyanwu only said, “I want to tell those in Lagos to realise that there is no war between us and the Yorubas”, adding that “those who attacked Ndigbo in Lagos recently are rascals who should be arrested”.
“This has mischievously been twisted to imply that ‘Yoruba people are political rascals and that we will fight them’. This is from the insidious minds of those who wish to create a rift between the Igbo and the Yoruba ethnicities.
“At no time in history, has there is often a tug of war between two major groups; mostly the good people with conscience on one hand and the devious insidious minds on the other.
“So, as much as some mischief makers will twist the speech by Iwuanyanwu, the truth remains that he holds the Yorubas in a very high esteem and he used the Awka event to express it,” Ogbonnia said.
He added that the emphasis was that “we must not attribute the ugly event in Lagos to the good people of Yoruba ethnic, rather, it was the handiwork of rascals, hooligans, spivs, charlatans, miscreants and dregs of Lagos society.
“It is important to highlight that Chief Iwuanyanwu is a renowned patriotic detribalized Nigerian who has enjoyed the fidelity, confidence, solidarity, and support of the Yoruba when he was in active business and politics.
“Iwuanyanwu in all his private and public discussions has often commended the profound Yoruba cultural values, intellect and hospitality.
“He applauds the cordial relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba, citing that several Igbo are integral parts of various Yoruba communities.
He maintained that there have been successful marriages of Yoruba daughters by frontline Igbo sons, citing Emeka Anyaoku; Asagba of Asaba, Chike Edozien; Vincent Ike, Okey Ndibe and others.
Mr Ogbonnia exemplified the irreproachable similarity in the Igbo-Yoruba cultural values and cosmology.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Ohanaeze Ndigbo will resist any attempt to paint the 2023 presidential election with an ethnic tar,” he added.