Barrister Aloy Ejimakor, counsel for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, explains his client’s opposition to the Igbo presidency project, the Eastern Security Network and the problem with Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Can you say that moves to establish a regional security network by southeast governors vindicates Mazi Nnamdi Kanu going by his recent letter?
That letter was in May 2020. It means Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a Nostradamus that saw tomorrow. It was not only to southeast governors but southsouth governors and their respective houses of assembly. They never took it seriously. It was an olive branch. He even asked them to pass laws to that effect, the way it was done in southern Nigeria.
After the formation of the Eastern Security Network, which some people accuse Nnamdi Kanu of being unilateral, it is good that this letter came out in open for everybody to judge. Now that they want to form a regional security outfit, it rings hollow and insincere.
Why is IPOB attacking Prof Obiozor-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo?
I don’t have anything to say on that. Any IPOB member attacking Prof Obiozor should answer that question. People are entitled to their opinions. Perhaps, from what I read, which is not my view, there is a bit of suspicion that Obiozor, by his antecedents or emergence, may not sing the philosophy of IPOB on referendum and restoration of Biafra.
If Prof Obiozor exhibits a tendency towards supporting or, not blocking, at least the philosophy of IPOB, it will be much likely that he will enjoy the support of IPOB. That is if he is perceived to represent the core Igbo interest. He should be standing up for the downtrodden. IPOB loves justice.
Is it true that Nnamdi Kanu is being sponsored by some interest to scuttle Igbo presidency come 2023?
According to the Nigerian constitution, political parties sponsor candidates. The two major political parties that we have in Nigeria, PDP and APC, are still capable of getting their candidates elected as president. Nnamdi Kanu does not have a political party. IPOB is not a political party that sponsors a presidential candidate.
So, where is this scuttling coming from? If anybody is going to scuttle the Igbo presidency, it is going to be the two major political parties. An independent movement cannot scuttle such. If APC and PDP deny an Igbo politician to run for presidency on their platforms, and they say it is Nnamdi Kanu, then laugh at them.
There are insinuations that an Igbo man should be blamed for his political misfortune. It is a lie. When they conspire against the Igbo, they look for one man to blame. You in the media should look beyond that.
Can ceding presidency to southeast appease IPOB’s quest for Biafra?
The question is bigger than that. Will an Igbo presidency in 2023 solve the problem of Nigeria? No. Nigeria’s problem is more structural than rotation of presidency. If not, what the present government is doing to those that didn’t vote them wouldn’t have been possible.
Don’t be surprised that after the publication of this interview, they arrest me. They do as they wish, which is unconstitutional and crime against humanity. If we have a proper nation, this thing cannot happen. Is Igbo presidency the solution? No. IPOB is saying it is not. IPOB is saying ‘why don’t we start with a referendum’. Year 2023 is far up.
The referendum should determine who wants to belong to Nigeria. If an Igbo man becomes president and begins to rule Nigeria like this administration, do you think other tribes will be happy with the Igbo? What will an Igbo president do when he doesn’t have the majority in the security, judiciary and so on to carry out his policies? There is a structural imbalance in the system which IPOB believes in. Referendum is the only solution. The concept of Igbo presidency does not figure in IPOB’s equation.
The IPOB I represent never asked for restructuring. It is asking for something beyond that. Before the last election, Ohanaeze and Afenifere were saying restructuring. But they still participated in the elections. The problem of Nigeria has gone beyond restructuring, otherwise, what are you going to restructure? Is it what we had between 1960 and 1963 or what? IPOB is saying it is too late. Too many bad things have happened. There is no compatriots’ spirit among Nigerians any longer. Tribes feel patriotic among themselves, but there is no national patriotism. What is left of it was destroyed in 2015.
There is no compatriot spirit when Nigerian is governed as if a particular tribe conquered the other. And we are talking about one Nigeria. Are you restructuring the human mind? Restructuring cannot bring back national unity that was destroyed by the 1967 genocide.
People thought that subsequent administrations would have healed the wounds, but rather they are returning to the similar problem that led to the pogrom. Soviet Union tried it, and failed. They had to walk away. Why keeping us together to choke us? What is troubling Nigeria is in the minds of Nigerians. This is what my clients are saying.
The only way to test national unity is to put it to a referendum. If the people want to be together, it becomes a compact. Why are people afraid to put our national unity to question?
Many fear that Nnamdi Kanu might use Eastern Security Network to terrorise his enemies. Can it be possible?
Terrorize or protect the people? Has IPOB ever terrorized people before? Listen to the policy statement of Nnamdi Kanu when he formed the ESN. He has a singular purpose: to protect and defend the people of former eastern Nigeria. It’s not to terrorize. People should take him by his words.