By NBF News

In what looks like a u-turn, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) yesterday made known its decision to participate in the April 2011 general elections.

The movement, however, said its decision was not in any way an abandonment of its struggle for the actualisation of the state of Biafra, stressing that the 2011 election was very crucial to the Biafran struggle.

In a statement dated February 3, 2011, signed by MASSOB National Director of Information, Uchenna Madu, which was made available to Daily Sun, the movement said the decision to participate in the election was reached by the leadership of MASSOB after a national officers meeting, presided over by their leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike.

Giving more reasons why it decided to participate in the election, the movement said: 'Biafra land is occupied by Nigerian government and has succeeded in imposition of stooges and errand boys from Biafraland as governors, senators and House of Representativess members in the past.'

'For the past 11 years, MASSOB distanced itself in Nigeria's internal political exercise like census and elections. Our participation now does not mean that we have abandoned the struggle for Biafra's actualisation or that the leadership has derailed. We are employing every available means to better the future of over 40million Biafrans.

'Since Biafra will get independence from Nigeria, we see this election as another platform for Biafra's actualisation. Our subject matter is Biafra. The very reason and essence of participating in this year's election is that MASSOB wants to establish credible persons, people of integrity without questionable characters, Igbo men/women with Igbo interest, people of progressive minds, who are eloquent, brave and consistent, who think the way MASSOB does. With our numerical strength, steadfastness and consistency, we shall prevail.'

On the nature of their participation, the statement said: 'We are still consulting as our qualified aspirants cut across all the political parties. As stakeholders on political life of Ndigbo, we need good governance, good representation, not cowards, who are selfish and Judases in Igboland. Men of inferiority complex can no longer preside over the governance and representation in our occupied Biafraland.'

'As every struggle has its methodologies, we see this year election as another platform to showcase our numerical strength in establishing Igbo interest by using our voter's card to elect men with Biafra blood in their veins. More than sixteen million MASSOB members have already registered for the voter's card and are still registering.'

The movement also expressed its approval of the recent appointment of the wife of ex-Biafran warlord, Dim Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu, Bianca into President Goodluck Jonathan's cabinet, saying, 'MASSOB welcomes the appointment of our Lolo Bianca Ojukwu into President Jonathan's cabinet as a good development. We advise that she take it'. Meanwhile, MASSOB has debunked allegations that it has abandoned the Biafran struggle, saying that nothing would ever make it to do so.

Reacting to a publication in one of the national dailies yesterday, Madu said, 'MASSOB led by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike will never abandon, retreat, surrender, compromise or loose focus on the non-violent agitation for Biafra actualization. How can over 20 million MASSOB members suddenly abandon over 11 years struggle? We've lost more than 7, 000 members in the hands of Nigerian security agents, millions have gone through prisons, we have been persecuted, harassed, arrested, dehumanized, tortured, traumatized, taunted, mesmerized, prosecuted, imprisoned, killed, our fundamental human rights abused for our struggle believe in Biafra.

'That publication in Compass is false, malicious, ungodly and abominable. It is sponsored by desperate, disgruntled, faceless agents of darkness. This is wickedness and insensitivity against the aspiration and future of Ndigbo. 'In MASSOB, we don't have such office as Director of Operation or Officer with such a name as Comrade Maduewesi Okonkwo. This is a cheap blackmail and cowardly act. This calumnious campaign of 'if you can't beat, you scatter them' will not prevail as MASSOB is not afraid of their antics.

'Ojukwu's ill health will never deter us. Biafrans should disregard the malicious publication as we still represent the genuine interest of Ndigbo.'