IPOB: Referendum more important than Kanu’s freedom, disagree on political solution | NN NEWS


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With the adjournment to February 16, 2022, of the treason trial being prosecuted in court by the Federal Government against Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and the separatist agitators, have disagreed on the rumoured attempts being made by Ohanaeze and some Igbo leaders of thought to procure a political solution to the ongoing trial. 

Whereas Ohanaeze would want President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene by exercising what they call his “prerogative of mercy,” IPOB insists that doing so will not make them change their mind on demanding for independence from the Nigerian federation. It noted that what matters most to its members is for a date to be slated for a referendum to enable the people of Eastern part of the country determine whether they want to belong to Nigeria or not. 

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation and Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) who were lamenting the return of sit-at-home believe that the release of Kanu through political means is the panacea to the festering crisis in the region although the President had, in an interview with Channels TV, noted that he would prefer that the separatist leader goes through the trial. 

Elder statesman and legal luminary, Chief Mike Ahamba, says he agrees with the President, to some extent. He explained that the power for political solution as being called for by Ohanaeze and several Igbo leaders is vested only in the Attorney General of the Federation. 

“We should not be encouraging interference in judicial matters in as much as we want Kanu to be free. I want him to be released but interfering with the judiciary is not good for us; same people will turn around tomorrow to say why is the President interfering in court cases?” he said. “The power for the political solution does not lie with the President but the Attorney General; the President can’t do it. I want him (Kanu) out too but there should be no sentiment about it. I have to be blunt.” 

But in an interview, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, noted that while he is not against the legal process taking its course, he would want the President to exercise his prerogative of mercy. 

He said: “I have not said that the President should stop the legal process. The President is observing correctly the separation of powers there. The truth is that when you are making an appeal for somebody in the situation Nnamdi Kanu is, you are not going legally or politically. We are asking Mr. President to apply his power of prerogative of mercy and do something. We expect the President to have a second thought.” He added that the President had granted amnesty to some people before, stressing that he has the power to say: “my son, go and sin no more,” and Kanu would be free. 

Alaigbo Development Forum (ADF) shares similar view with the President General of Ohanaeze. The association’s spokesman, Abia Onyike, said Kanu is seen in the public domain as the leader of the Igbo self-determination struggle. So, no matter how long the trial lasts or the number of times the court adjourns the case, the Federal Government of Nigeria would continue to be under pressure to release him and grant Ndigbo their freedom. He added that in so far as they continue to try him, the plight of the Igbo nation in the crisis-ridden Nigerian federation would continue to be highlighted. 

He noted: “The best option left for the government of President Buhari is to explore the political and diplomatic options to grant Kanu freedom. Otherwise, he would continue to enjoy his status as a hero of the struggle and a thorn in the flesh to Nigerian oppressors.” 

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, who was reacting to the return of sit-at-home in South East as witnessed this week, leading to the disruption of social and economic life in the region, noted that IPOB denied having a hand in what was going on. He blamed it on lack of consensus among the five states that make up the South East to join Ebonyi in establishing the Ebubeagu security outfit, noting that doing so would help control the activities of the hoodlums perpetrating crisis in the zone. 

He said: “There is tenuous and porous security architecture in the country and that’s the issue. There’s no way you can have just one level of security structure in a country like Nigeria. We have asked the governors to roll out Ebubeagu security outfit for a long time but only Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has done so. This would have been another level of security structure. In some places, there could be up to three or four levels of security structure; the federal, state, local government or community/ward. In fact, some universities have their own security structure. 

“On the return of sit-at-home in the region, we have confronted IPOB and they said those causing the confusion are not their members. They even publicized it widely in the media. The problem is, when the personnel of the state actor are not there, the non-state actors step in. What is happening is an indication of the collapse of security architecture in the South East. We’ve been talking that the structure of the federalism we are running is dysfunctional. We don’t need to have just one federal security architecture in the name of federal structure. The governors should step in and do the needful by setting up the state security structure, the Ebubeagu security outfit, so that some of these things will be controlled. We believe this is the solution.” 

However, IPOB in an interview with Saturday Sun, dismissed the insinuation that the sit-at-home order returned to the South East because of the government’s decline to accede to call for political solution in Kanu’s matter. The association’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, yesterday, described the President’s statement on political solution for Kanu as a way of playing to the gallery and deceiving the global community that he wanted to release the IPOB leader. 

He declared that “IPOB is not relenting whether there’s political solution or not because what we want referendum date to ascertain where we want to belong. Anything without referendum will not be accepted. IPOB has gone far with the struggle for freedom of Biafra. So political solution is for Nigeria to redeem their image in the eyes of the global world because everybody in the world has seen Nigeria, not only as an Islamised Fulani nation but also as a failed country.” He added that, “nothing will redeem Nigeria’s image unless they do the needful and they know it. Whether Buhari and his administration come up with political solution or not, Biafra will come in their very eyes.” (The Sun Nigeria/Headline Exclusion) 

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