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June 16, 2024

Treat Nnamdi Kanu same way Bodejo was treated Clark writes Tinubu

Treat Nnamdi Kanu same way Bodejo was treated Clark writes Tinubu

…Says it will bring an end to the needless Monday sit-at-home order

…Admits that if we must a democratic and united country where all citizens have equal rights, we must drop our personal, group interest and the interest of Nigeria should be a priority

By Henry Umoru

FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and South South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark has written to President Bola Tinubu on the immediate need for political solution for detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

He  asked Tinubu to allow Kanu be treated the same way the  Federal Government withdrew the three-count terrorism charge it entered against the detained President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo.

According to the Elderstatesman in a letter to the President which he described  as part 2 of his message to Nigerians having attained the age of 97, made available to Journalists in Abuja, said that aside  from demanding for the restructuring of Nigeria, the political freedom of Nnamdi Kanu will no doubt complete the reconciliation of Nigeria and bring an end to the needless Monday sit-at-home order, which has disturbed businesses and civil activities in the South-East.

The letter is  titled “PART II: A CALL FOR THE REINTEGRATION OF THE IGBOS INTO THE MAINSTREAM OF NIGERIA AND A CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF NNAMDI KANU BY MR PRESIDENT ON POLITICAL GROUNDS AS IN THE CASE OF THE MIYETTI ALLAH PRESIDENT ABDULLAHI BELLO BODEJO.”

The leader of the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF reiterated that  there is no love lost amongst myself, IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu, but his candid opinion is that if Nigeria as a country must strive to have a democratic and united country where all citizens have equal rights, we must drop what he termed our  personal and group interest and the interest of Nigeria should be a priority.

According to the Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum,  PANDEF, “I have never supported the activities of IPOB under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu, but today, Nigeria, a broken country where many groups and nativities have cried foul to the way Nigeria had been going since 1999 because of the Military Constitution imposed on Nigerians by the Military. Today, our economy is failing, our democracy is failing, our education and health institutions are collapsing, the youths are jobless and some people are treated as second class citizens while a few enjoy the fruit of the so called democracy we are passing through, coupled with the violence and insecurity in the South-East; and if allowed to continue, the consequences will be very unpleasant to all Nigerians. It was because of this I called on President Muhammadu Buhari to accept the Court of Appeal Judgement on Nnamdi Kanu. As I said earlier, there is no love lost amongst myself, IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu but if we have to have a democratic and united country where all citizens have equal rights, we must drop our personal and group interest and the interest of Nigeria should be a priority.

“The short-changing of the Igbos of the South East over the years is the reason why IPOB has fashioned a place for itself in the hearts and minds of the young people in the southeast with its demand for self-determination. I have physically seen these IPOB boys in action, at the Ekwueme Square in Awka,

Anambra State, when I attended a meeting of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum there. It is indeed a movement of youths who are justifiably angry with the way and manner the affairs of the country are being conducted and particularly the marginalization of the Igbos but are misguided.  None of these youths witnessed the civil war and is, definitely, not abreast with the history of the war and its full ramifications. I advise, therefore, that rather than the use of military force which has already proved counter-productive, they should be carefully treated with the “carrot and stick approach”, in the interest of the peace, stability and progress of Nigeria as a whole and the South East zone in particular.

“It would be recalled that during the gubernatorial election, Nigerians were informed that the detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu had disowned Simon Ekpa led faction of IPOB. It was partly as a result of this, that the elections were peacefully held in Anambra State which brought Prof Chukwuma Soludo into power. The main reason behind the charges preferred against Nnamdi Kanu is his involvement in calling for a referendum using the IPOB for a Biafran State, while others who have made similar calls are moving about their daily lives freely, while Nnamdi Kanu is still being detained. 

“The release of Nnamdi Kanu by Mr President on political grounds is over due as earlier explained. Mr President should direct the Attorney General to enter a nolle prosequi to free Nnamdi Kanu who has shown his intention to work with the Federal Government, in order to bring peace and stability in the South-East and to Nigerians as a whole as it has been recently done in similar cases of treasonable felony as in the case of Miyetti Allah president, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo of Nasarawa state.

“Mr. President, the recent adoption of the Independent National Anthem by all Nigerians imposes on us that we must practice what we preach and the release of Nnamdi Kanu is one of such cases. I respectfully wish to remind you or draw your attention to the first stanza of our National Anthem thus;  

“Nigeria we hail thee,

Our own dear native land,

Though tribe and tongue may differ,

In brotherhood we stand,

Nigerians all, and proud to serve

Our sovereign Motherland.”

Clark further said,”I am fully aware of the appeal made by the Federal Government to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, rejecting the verdict of the Court of Appeal. However, we are happy that the Supreme Court of Nigeria did not grant their wishes but sent the case to the lower court for retrial. It is to be noted that the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court recognised in their judgments, the fact that it was the pursuit of Nnamdi Kanu by the Military from his home that was responsible for his escape from Nigeria. The Apex Court while condemning the actions of the Government says the law of Nigeria hasn’t gotten to a point that a trial will stop on account of illegality by the prosecution, adding, that is a matter of legislation. The court says Kanu should therefore seek redress by a civil suit against the judgement of fundamental rights.

“It is therefore unjust and misleading for Justice Nyako to hold a contrary view and thereby keeping the victim of conspiracy theory by some Nigerians, who believe that they own Nigeria and no one else, and that’s why today, the insecurity in the broken Nigeria is still striving.

The unity of Nigeria can only be achieved and sustained if every part of the country is treated equally with the other parts, in all ramifications. No one can play God over Nigeria and no section owns this country more than any other section. We want Mr President to reassure Nigerians of our oneness.

“Any government in deciding its area of priority depends upon its political and economic agenda, but the demand of the people normally overshadows that of the government; because of its volatility which may affect the security and the smooth administration of the government.

For the past nine (9) years, Nigerians have had it so bad because your immediate predecessor’s government, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government is the worst Government Nigeria ever had, as I charged in my open farewell letter to him which has been published several times in the media.

“Some Nigerians have described their own country as a failed/ failing country, others have described it as a broken country; the former Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo have described Nigeria as a country with broken walls, hence, the demand for the restructuring of the country in order to preserve the unity and survival of our country and particularly, allowing people in different States to live freely and develop their region/state without intimidation or oppression from any quarter. Currently, we are not practicing a TRUE federal system, where people can freely move and exercise their rights to freedom of speech and association. We need a federation where all citizens are equal and there is mutual respect for one another.

In this federation, each state or region should be able to develop at its own pace, utilizing the resources available within their boundaries without any hindrance. However, the current situation is such that the states which are suppose to be autonomous according to section 5 (2) of the 1999 constitution have allowed themselves to be treated as subsidiaries of the Federal Government, whereby the Federal Government takes all the resources available in various states, living them with little or no control over their resources. Additionally, the states are made to travel to Abuja every month to receive their monthly allocation, which is generated from the resources of the states themselves. As a result, the Governors of these states often prioritize their loyalty to the president rather than their own state or region.

“Mr President, you have always been the principal advocate of restructuring, even before you became Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governor of Lagos State. During your time, you passionately advocated for a sovereign National Conference, which was even more inclusive than the current restructuring we are demanding for in Nigeria. Undoubtedly, this pursuit of restructuring will be one of your most enduring legacies when you leave office.

“I therefore note with pleasure, your recent statement when the Afenifere Leaders, led by Pa Reuben Fasoranti on restructuring, stated thus, “I have listened to your advocacy on restructuring, what you believe in is what I believe in, which is, constitutional democracy is being reflected since we took over”. He stated that there is a pressing need to lay a solid foundation for an enduring project like restructuring. Specifically, President Tinubu declared that the economy of the country needs to be re-tuned, revamped and re-engineered.

“Finally, let me conclude my message by not dwelling so much on restructuring, which is now very well known to all Nigerians but there are a few mischievous and unpatriotic Nigerians who still pretend that they do not know what we mean by restructuring and indeed they are the enemies of a peaceful and united Nigeria. Let me re-emphasize the importance and urgency of reintegrating the Igbos into the main stream of Nigeria where their region will be equal with other regions in all ramification, meaning that they should be fully and unconditionally united or be admitted into the union of Nigeria as it was before the civil war. Anything short of that is not in the interest of a united Nigeria and there maybe no end to the insecurity in Nigeria.”