From Bolaji Oyegunle, London Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha’s speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs – Chatham House, London, on Wednesday was held up for over thirty minutes by a lone pro-Biafran agitator, who had to be wrestled out of the venue after initially holding up the event for more than twenty minutes .
The drama began seconds after the governor had been introduced by the occasion’s chair, Dame Sally Keeble. Unknown to both the governor’s entourage of about ten and the organisers, that two protesters were among the audience and as soon as Okorocha took to the podium and even before he could finish the first sentence , two male protesters stood up and headed in his direction, waving the Biafran flag.
Among others , they asked the governor: “Why are you killing our people ?” The killings of our people cannot continue ,” as they waved flags and disrupted the smooth take off of proceedings at about 12.40pm.
Although the governor’s aides and Chatham House staff managed to get one of them out of the hall, but the other, who was within inches away from the governor refused, insisting he had to speak . Both men had conversations, with Okorocha appealing to his reason , but to no avail.
Okorocha managed to stay composed and asked that the lone protester be allowed to make his point, but the Biafran activist pushed his luck beyond belief, much to the annoyance of the audience. Looking each other eyeball to eyeball and conversing with the governor in Igbo, he still insisted he wouldn’t seat nor be quiet, even when the governor said he should be given the front seat and that he would address their concerns during his speech.
The disruption continued as the protester resisted all entreaties to hold his peace . It took the bravery of a member of the audience who then stepped up the plate, bundled the young man of about twenty something against the wall, before others too joined in bundling him outside the hall. Even with that , his voice was overhead in the hall as he chanted Biafran sentiments. It took another ten or more minutes ,before the governor finally had his time to speak on :”Nigeria’s Human Capital and State Education Initiatives: the View From Imo State.”
During the short time he then had, he made a case for Nigerian education system to be redesigned to accommodate vocational skills and to be tailored towards the country’s needs.