PAN-Igbo body Ohanaeze Ndigbo has warned that there may no elections across the southeast geo-political zone in 2023 unless President Muhammadu Buhari releases Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu.
In June this year, Mr Kanu was apprehended in Kenya where he was detained, tortured and then flown to Nigeria and handed over to the security authorities. Claiming that the arrest was illegal at it did not follow laid down procedures including the obtaining of court orders or extradition warrants, Mr Kanu’s family have since taken the Kenyan government to court in Nairobi.
Mr Kanu’s trial has polarised the nation and in November, a group called the Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, met with President Buhari and urged him to release Mr Kanu in the interest of peace. Acknowledging that the military option can only solve so much, President Buhari promised to consider their request.
However, northern socio-political activist, Yaro Abdullahi, warned of the dangers of releasing Mr Kanu, saying it may serve as a springboard for other people to commit serious crimes and get away with it. He pointed out that nobody in the history of Nigeria has committed Mr Kanu’s kind of crimes, hence releasing him would be sending out the wrong message.
With the Independent national Electoral Commission (Inec) now releasing the 2023 election timetable, revealing that presidential elections will hold on Saturday February 18 2023, the countdown has begun. Ohaneze Ndigbo has warned that elections mat not hold at all, however unless Mr Kanu is released because Igbos feel too strongly about his incarceration.
Ohaneze also urged Igbos to equip and prepare themselves for a tougher 2022 with the same virtue and mental strength that saw them overcome the oppression, intimidation, and arm-twisting all over the world, especially in Nigeria. Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Ohaneze Ndigbo general secretary, said that Igbos must be prepared for the horrible and shocking things ahead, while they hope for the promising future.
He stressed that there will be attempts to dash Igbo’s political hope for 2023 but said he believes that Igbos are destined to emancipate Nigeria from all ailments and maladies and enable the nation regain her global status of the giant of Africa. According to the Ohanaeze scribe, Igbos will not be given the opportunity to fly the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential flags but natural occurrences will not only favour but re-position them.
Mazi Isiguzoro said: “President Muhammadu Buhari should release Nnamdi Kanu in 2022 to authorise peace, security and stability in southeastern Nigeria. If he is not released in 2022 as being championed by the northern leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders Forum, there will be no 2023 elections in eastern Nigeria with the evidence of sit-at-homes and it will lead to a deterioration of the security situation in southern Nigeria.
“Buhari cannot shy away from releasing Nnamdi Kanu, it will help to obliterate the negative impression of Nigeria in the eyes of the international community, restore the dignity of Nigeria and re-admit her amongst the committee of nations. In 2023, we are committed to a Nigeria president of Igbo extraction as a result of addressing equity and fairness and obeying the gentleman’s agreement of the rotational presidency reached by Nigeria’s patriots in 1999, which has helped to stabilise the country.
“It will be unwise to scuttle it now that it favours Ndigbo, so we will commence the political journey of 2023 with persuasive visits to all the geopolitical zones of the country by January 13, 2023. However, in the case of conspiracy, sabotage and denial of Igbo the 2023 presidential tickets in APC and PDP, both the conspirators and saboteurs will only be available for the doomsday and may not superintendent the affairs of the country in 2023, as secessionist groups will be strengthened and unified by the evidence of political neglect, marginalisation and enslavement of eastern Nigeria.”