Elder statesman, Prof. Ben Nwabueze on Tuesday, in Enugu, described the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as a great Igbo man.
The applause came for Kanu as he led members of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, on a courtesy visit to Nwabueze. Also part of the visit were the deputy leader of ECA, Mrs. Maria Okwor; Secretary, Elliot Ukoh and Publicity Secretary, Rev. Fr. John Odey, among others.
“I must say, today is one of the greatest days in my life, meeting you. Whatever anybody may say, you are a great Igbo man. How many of us are prepared to fight for Ndigbo?
“You are sticking out your neck for Ndigbo. We are supposed to be one of the leading ethnic groups in Nigeria but today, we are in the minority; we have been so marginalized.
“The case of Nnamdi Kanu is a lesson in good governance and good leadership. Nnamdi Kanu’s case teaches that repression is seldom the right response to complaints and agitations for amelioration in the conditions of things in the society. Repression seldom settles grievances. If anything, it forces them underground.
“In this case, the long imprisonment of Nnamdi Kanu and his mates for demanding self-determination has caused the spirit of the agitation to come to live in countless number of people of Igbo extraction. It is a mistake to think of self-determination for which Nnamdi and others are agitating as meaning secession.
“Another lesson to learn from Nnamdi Kanu’s case is directed to him and the other agitators. This self-determination should be a graduated process. It should begin with regional autonomy.
“The country should be restructured into six more or less self-governing zones or regions, with the powers of the central government drastically reduced, so as to minimize the fierce contest for its control.”
Responding, Kanu said he had always hoped to meet Nwabueze, stressing that the elder statesman had shown “so much focus and determination towards championing the cause of Ndigbo.