A former governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, on Sunday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to dialogue with the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in order to avoid further crisis in the country.
Orji, who stated this in a chat with journalists as part of activities marking his 70th birthday celebration, said dialogue with IPOB and other dissident voices in the South-East remained one of the best ways to achieve peace in the region.
He added that the people of South-East extraction who had been crying of marginalisation in the last few years deserved a listening ear rather than the use of force.
The ex-governor said: “If there are dissident voices, the president should call them and discuss with them.
“He should find out the cause of their agitation and work out ways to address their grievances.
“He should see how he can bring them in and fully integrate them into the system.
“That is what will solve the problem of the country. Call the dissident voices to a conference.
“There is nothing bad in discussing with the IPOB. If you don’t discuss with them, they will continue to give you trouble.
“We can’t be happy when other regions have six states and we have five. It shows that we are marginalised and cheated. That is what is causing the agitation in the region.
“Some groups are agitating that the zone should be a country on its own. Others are demanding restructuring because it is glaring that the South-East is being marginalised.
“If you treat me fairly like you treat other persons and I’m convinced that you are sincere, I will not complain. It is when I look around me and I see that I am being marginalised and treated like a second-class citizen that would make people to be agitating.”