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Don’t antagonise Nnamdi Kanu he is your saviour Adebanjo tells Ndigbo

The leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, has advised Igbo leaders not to antagonise the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

The IPOB leader allegedly breached the bail conditions granted him by Justice Binta Nyako before whom he was standing trial in 2017.

He was, however, rearrested in Kenya in June 2021 and brought back to Nigeria to continue his trial. Since his extradition, Kanu has been in the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS).

The Federal Government on Monday, January 17, filed a fresh 15-count terrorism charge against him, thereby increasing the counts in the initial charge bordering on treasonable felony from seven to 15.

The 15-count amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/ CR/383/2015 was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) M. B. Abubakar.

But in an exclusive chat with TheNiche, Adebanjo said Kanu committed no crime and cautioned Ndigbo against 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’’.

“All the fight we must do now is to mobilise our people. Buhari has all the power. He has the army but we have our people.

“We don’t want this 1999 Constitution. We must change it. Then we will know where we are going. “Just like some people say to me that ‘Igboho is for secession and you are not for secession’.

I say to them, ‘I am not for secession but I don’t oppose it’. “I don’t believe that people should secede if we have a federal constitution.

But if we fail to, well, to your tents oh Israel. “We will be in Nigeria on the basis of equality on agreed terms, no section lording it over the other.

That is what will pay us. That is what we wish. “But if it is a Nigeria with the unity of the horse and the rider, where I will be the horse and some people will be the rider, no it will not happen. This is where I stand.”

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