By Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri
Elder statesman and chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has described as fake news, a news report trending on social media that he called Yoruba people political rascals in a recent event at Awka in Anambra State.
Engr. Iwuanyanwu in a statement issued Monday stated that the viral news item is a complete misrepresentation of the statement he made at Awka concerning the killings, destructions of properties and harassment of Igbos in Lagos during the recent elections.
The Chairman, Ohanaeze Council of Elders who explained that his speech at the event was aired live on Arise TV, and several other media outfits urged the public to discountenance the report praying those who care to get the transcript of his speech from the media organizations.
The octogenarian who insisted that he never made such a statement at any time declared that the statement was manipulated and reminded the purveyors of the malicious item of the dire consequences of their actions.
He described himself as an honorary Yoruba citizen noted that he was conferred with several chieftaincy titles by revered Yoruba Obas, has a son-in-law of Yoruba extraction as well as many friends and associates across Yoruba nation.
His words, “My statement was covered live by Arise Television, Channels and many other electronic and print media houses. All Nigerians of goodwill who care should get the true transcript of my statement from any of these media houses.”
“I want to make it abundantly clear that at no time did I make the statement credited to me by blackmail circulating on the social media that Yorubas are political rascals as this was fraudulently manipulated. I want to warn all perpetrators of this fake news that it is a criminal offence to circulate fake news against a peace-loving Nigerian.”
He added that he is a senior citizen who has been honoured with most prestigious national merit awards over the years just as his name is in the nation’s Hall of Fame among others.
“Bye this name is in the hall of fame in Imo State. The Seven Igbo Speaking States namely: Rivers, Delta, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States have also honoured me with the Traditional Title of Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo. I am indeed the first Igbo man to be so honoured.
“As a professional Engineer, I have been honoured with numerous merit Awards including institution of an annual lecture series in my name by my Colleagues in appreciation of my contributions to Engineering, Science Society and Humanity. I am the Grand Patron of many youth organizations in the Country.
“Most of my close friends who have influenced my business and professional life are from Northern and Western parts of Nigeria. For instance, I am the Balogun Babaguwan of Ibadan land. I have also been honoured with Chieftaincy titles by numerous Yoruba Obas. I am no doubt an honorary citizen of Yoruba land.
“I have many personal friends and staff of my various companies including directors who are Yorubas. Most of them played major roles in shaping my economic destiny. I therefore do not have any reason whatsoever to insult Yoruba tribe whom I regard with great respect.
“What I did at the ceremony was to admonish Igbos who felt threatened by various attacks in Lagos that they have no cause to worry because there are no problems between Igbos and Yorubas. I therefore told them to stay in Lagos and go about their normal businesses. I did however mention to them that the attackers are political rascals and their action does not reflect the good relationship between Yorubas and Igbos.”
Iwuanyanwu pointed out that he felt very sad that a Nigerian should be denied his democratic right to vote any candidate of his choice because of his tribe and condemned unequivocally what happened to Igbos in Lagos during te last elections was unacceptable.