‘Begging President to release IPoB leader is submission to tyranny, which will make Zik shake in his grave’
Pa Ayo Adebanjo, the chairman of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation Afenifere, has counseled Igbo leaders not to oppose Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In 2017, the IPOB leader violated the bail conditions imposed by Justice Binta Nyako, in front of whom he was on trial.
In June 2021, he was re-arrested in Kenya and returned to Nigeria to continue his trial. Kanu has been in the custody of the Department of State Service since his extradition (DSS).
On Monday, January 17, the federal government filed a new 15-count terrorist indictment against him, bringing the total number of counts in the previous charge bordering on treasonable felony to 15.
M. B. Abubakar, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), signed the 15-count amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/ CR/383/2015.
However, in an exclusive interview with TheNiche, Adebanjo stated that Kanu did not commit any crimes and warned Ndigbo from alienating him.
“I have told Igbo leaders, do not antagonise IPOB,” he said.
Though Adebanjo said he has never met Kanu, he is of the opinion that the embattled IPOB leader will be Igbo saviour.
“I have never met Nnamdi Kanu but I say, don’t antagonise him because he will be your (Igbo) saviour.”
Giving the reason for his assertion, Adebanjo, who was a protégé of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said, “But for Nnamdi Kanu, but for Sunday Igboho, restructuring won’t be in the front burner of discussions in the country today.
“Both of them brought the issue to the front burner.”
The 93-year-old Yoruba leader regreted that just when the issue of restructuring was gathering momentum, a bait of who will be the President was thrown to the Igbo and an otherwise proud, intelligent people with all their education are allowing those he said have only primary school education to dribble them.
Adebanjo said Ndigbo don’t know the asset they have in IPOB.
“If IPOB can mobilise the people and say don’t go out, and in spite of the position of the governors, no one goes out, that is significant.”
Adebanjo, who insisted that the issue of mobilisation was important because he does not trust the Fulani, said he is giving the same advice to the Yoruba.
“I don’t trust any Fulani man. And as I told Governor Akeredolu, it is alright for you to pass a resolution, but before that, rally your people, no restructuring, no election.
“Go and mobilise. That is where your weapon lies. Don’t fight them with violence because the Fulani are all over the country.
“They are in your village and my village. And all of them are armed. They will run over you.
“But we have one weapon with which we can defeat them hands down, and that is civil disobedience.
“If we don’t take part in this election, let Buhari go on. Some say that is a difficult thing, but I am happy they are saying it is difficult, not that it is impossible.
“If you cannot fight a difficult battle, then go and submit yourself to slavery.”
Adebanjo said it was wrong for Igbo leaders to beg President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu.
“When they did that, I said, ‘oh, my God’. I was ashamed. And to imagine that Mbazulike Amechi led that delegation.
“Amechi was in the trenches with us when we were fighting against the colonialists. He was leading the NCNC youth group. We were in the Action Group.
“Now, Ndigbo went to beg Buhari, a Fulani reactionary, to release your people. What have your people done’’.