Osita Okechukwu, director-general of the Voice of Nigeria(VON), has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to honour elder statesman Mbazulike Amechi with the release of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Sunday, Mr Okechukwu also appealed to IPOB to support a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
“I join Ohaneze Ndigbo, eminent constitutional lawyer and Chairman, Igbo Leaders of Thought, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, and people of goodwill nationwide in commending President Muhammadu Buhari for accepting to consider the release of held leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
“I also appeal to IPOB to support a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction 2023 project. Methinks IPOB support will kill two birds with one stone,” Okechukwu, also director-general of Voice of Nigeria (VON) said.
Igbo leaders led by the first Aviation Minister, Mr Amaechi, had visited President Buhari at Aso Villa at the weekend, where they requested the president to release the IPOB leader, who was intercepted in Kenya in June.
Mr Kanu had fled Nigeria in 2017, jumping bail after his Afaraukwu home in Abia was invaded by soldiers. He is being tried for treason.
“Mr President said during the visit that, “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years since I became president, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary. …. I said that the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court, instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from the outside. I feel it’s even a favour to give him that opportunity.”
Asked if IPOB support for Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023 was a precondition for the release of Mr Kanu, Mr Okechukwu said Capital No.
“Capital No, it is not a precondition, all I am saying is that Mr President and host of other Nigerians are silently in support of Nigeria president of Igbo extraction 2023 project, but are weary and reticent of IPOB stance.
“Therefore, in my opinion, IPOB support of our project will kill two birds with one stone,” Mr Okechukwu said.
Prodded further, he explained that one stone was the release of Mr Kanu, another was the return of economic activities in the South-east and thirdly IPOB support will no doubt rekindle wider support for Nigerian president of Igbo extraction 2023 project.
“My understanding of IPOB agitation is to end Igbo marginalisation; if that’s the case then our 2023 Nigeria President of Igbo extraction will be the end of the civil war. Nigerians are waiting for IPOB to change gear,” he said.