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Why we shunned Nnamdi Kanu in South East consultations – Presidency

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja.   |   19 June 2017   |   4:39 am

Political activist and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement, Nnamdi Kanu (L), wearing a Jewish prayer shawl, poses in the garden of his house in Umuahia, southeast Nigeria, on May 26, 2017, before commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the war on May 30. The war was triggered when the Igbo people, the main ethnic group in the southeast, declared an independent breakaway state, the Republic of Biafra. / AFP PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS

The Presidency has given reasons why it shunned the leader of the Indegenious People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu in the ongoing consultations with leaders of the South East.

It says it deliberately ignored Kanu because it does not regard him as a leader of thought in the region.

Recall that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo last week flagged off a series of meetings with leaders of thought, politicians, traditional rulers and the clergy as part of effort to douse the rising ethnic agitations in parts of the country.

‎Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu has however given indication of a window of possibility for Kanu to meet with the federal government for discussion should the need arise in the future.

Speaking at the weekend, the presidential aide said: “Well, the thing is that we were looking for leaders of the people, leaders of thought and we do not see him as a leader of thought in the east.

“May be opportunity will come at one time or the other for him to be engaged.

“But so far, what we have done is to look at people who have influence in the communities, whether it is religious, whether it is traditional, whether it is political, social or governance. These are the people we brought in for discussion.”

He also said that the south leaders including Ohanaeze Ndigbo coming to see Osinbajo have neither asked for a referendum on Biafra or secession, saying that they have only complained about marginalization in appointments and harassment by police at road blocks.

“Nobody has tabled that in all the discussions we have had. Nobody, I can tell you. Ohanaeze came with a prepared document. They never talked about referendum. They never. They never even talked about secession.

“They made complaints about police harassment at road blocks. They made complaints about losing some key positions, not being appointed into security positions and all those kinds of things.

“And these are things that can easily be addressed. Nobody canvassed secession at those meetings, nobody canvassed referendum.”

Ojudu noted that the south east leaders the acting President has met so far were all intent on keeping Nigeria as one living in peace and harmony.

He said the federal government would tackle the perceived injustice in parts of the country through equitable distribution of resources and employment creation.

The presidential aide added: “So, for us, and that was the conclusion that everybody came to in the consultations we have had that we should all agree that we can live together peacefully.

“We should address injustice where we find it and the government should be equitable in the distribution of resources across the country snd then, find solution to youth unemployment and the frustration that is confronting most of the young people across this country.”




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