Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State, Professor Greg Ibe, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to release the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as his parting gift to Ndigbo.
President Buhari who came to power on May 29, 2015, will be serving out his second tenure by May 29, 2023.
Professor Ibe in an open letter to the President, pleaded with Buhari to heed the various appeals for Kanu’s release in the spirit of national unity.
The letter made available to Vanguard in Umuahia read: “At this twilight of your eventful tenure, may I respectfully request you to benevolently hearken to several calls from many eminent personalities and groups, from within Nigeria and in the diaspora, to leverage your constitutionally empowered prerogative of mercy and graciously release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as a final parting gift to Ndigbo.
“While completely associating myself with the last appeal on the same subject made by our Elder Statesman and current President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, and having just been appointed member of the Presidential Advisory Council of Ohanaeze, it is my firm conviction that you will merit a place of honour in the Igbo Hall of Fame by assenting to these requests.”
The Professor noted that the disenchantment of Ndigbo over their exclusion and persecution in Nigeria had been worsened by Kanu’s continued detention.
“The Igbo people have always been an integral part of Nigeria’s history, considerably contributing to its growth and development. However, it is no secret that Ndigbo have a deep-seated sense of disillusionment, which has been exacerbated by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s prolonged imprisonment.
“It goes without saying that advertently or inadvertently, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has come to represent the hopes, frustrations, and grievances of many Igbo people.”
Professor Ibe said that despite the varying perceptions about Kanu, dialogue remained the best way out of the issues around him.
“While I acknowledge that there have been concerns regarding some of his actions, inactions and rhetoric, it is essential to remember that dialogue and engagement are preferable to protracted detention for addressing such issues.
“By releasing Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, you have the chance to demonstrate magnanimity, statesmanship, and to cultivate an inclusive attitude among the Igbo people. It would demonstrate that, under your leadership, the Nigerian government values the concerns and aspirations of all its citizens, regardless of ethnicity.
“In addition, the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu would promote national healing, reconciliation, and unity as Nigeria proceeds forward. “
He maintained that dialogue remained the best solution to many national questions.
“As we strive to construct a stronger, more prosperous nation, it is imperative that we address the underlying issues that have contributed to the growing unrest and disunity in certain regions of the country.
The release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu would not only be viewed as an act of benevolence, but also as a crucial step toward national integration, especially in view of the present political distribution of offices for the incoming administration, which currently doesn’t favour Ndigbo.
“Your magnanimity will therefore serve as a beacon of hope, demonstrating to the Igbo people that their concerns are being addressed and their hope for a fair and equitable Nigeria is possible and definitely realizable.”
Professor Ibe further said that some persons who had enjoyed similar treatment in the past, ended up becoming better citizens.
“Your Excellency may wish to recall that our history is inundated with cases of activists who after receiving similar privileges are currently contributing to the growth of society. Worthy of mention are such citizens as Asari Dokubo, Government Tompolo and Sunday Igboho, who subsequent upon release from detention have integrated and realigned themselves back to the societal task of nation-building.
” It is on record that the relative peace currently pervading the Niger Delta region is traceable to the stabilizing efforts of the former activists. Your anticipated magnanimity to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will surely extend similar narrative to troubled sections of the South East region.”
Ibe further postulated that Kanu be released to a special team comprising of representatives of United Nations.
“It is therefore my suggestion that you graciously hand over Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to a special team made up United Nations representatives and Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership, as a crucial component and climax of activities marking your valedictory.
“As a Royal Prince of the Ossah Ancient Kingdom in Abia State, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will be a befitting replacement on the traditional throne which has remained vacant since the death of his father in 2019.
“Let me thereby assure you that the release and subsequent enthronement of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu into the vacant throne of his father during this auspicious season of embracing the new government of Dr Alex Otti in our dear state Abia will definitely usher in a season of renewed hope and breath of fresh air, while signalling great possibilities of reintegration of Ndigbo into the Nigerian nation.