Rochas Okorocha, the governor of Imo State, has called for the release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. He made the call in an exclusive interview with Sunday Sun.
However, the governor was dismissive about Kanu’s advocacy and importance saying that the continued detention of the Biafra secessionist activist was “making a hero out of nothing”.
The Imo governor also spoke on his reservations about the Biafra struggle and more or less said that current advocacy groups were ineffective.
“On the issue of Kanu and IPOB, I have a different opinion altogether and I think it has been over-dramatised and over pursued, we will just find out that it has not given us any key result,” the governor told the newspaper.
“See, approach is key in life and how you look at things. I think what we must do as Igbo is to let the federal government see the reasons to release Kanu because keeping Kanu there is making him a hero out of nothing.”
“He should be released. Since he made inciting statements, he has not killed, he is not found guilty, he should be released. And even what he did is not just an order or threat to government; all that he is charged with, is he guilty of it? Has he done anything wrong?
“So, we must let the government understand that Kanu is not worth the trouble being attached to him. It is something that we the leaders can go to the president and say, give us this boy, we will guarantee his good behaviour. Bring him out.
“But the approach is key. I think very soon now I will ensure that a meeting of Igbo leaders is convened. This is where leadership is called for. We will go and meet President Buhari and we will kindly request for his release and that he has learnt enough lesson in the prison.”
Governor Okorocha also chastised Nnamdi Kanu for his heated rhetoric and complained that Kanu insulted everybody including Igbo leaders and said that such behaviour is “youthful exuberance”.
“Because he didn’t even spare anybody; we have to let him know he wasn’t only talking about the Federal Government and Biafra. He was castigating and insulting all the Igbo leaders,” the governor continued.
“When such a person who even castigated his own is in prison, why should it be a big deal? Why don’t we look at it differently and see it as youthful exuberance rather than putting him there and he is creating a bit of tension and what should not worth it.”
He also revealed that he had been meditating with the key officials in the federal government to secure Nnamdi Kanu’s release from prison. However, he cautioned again the use of language by IPOB saying that they were not the only ethnic group seeking separation from Nigeria.
“And Nigerians love creating ethnic colourations and making things big. I have discussed with some key federal government authorities that they need to remove him from the prison and stop this case so that everybody will be free and IPOB will be free,” Okorocha said.
“But I must also have said that IPOB in their agitation, there is nothing wrong with the agitation, but the language of the agitation is different.
“You see, when you are talking about sovereignty, that doesn’t sound well with any sovereign nation. But they are doing the same thing that the Egbesus are doing, the Oduduwas are doing, the Niger Delta people are doing, but the language is different.
“I mean there is nothing wrong if you make all the noise in the world for people to recognize you, it is part of democracy.
“But when you say you want to be sovereign, you want to be on your own, that’s when it becomes an issue. It creates unnecessary hatred for Ndigbo.
Yet you want to be free and the Igbo are talking about Igbo presidency, how does the two work? So, these are some of the things we have to advise our children to apply wisdom in doing.
“But nobody wants to talk about it, everybody thinks it has become a political issue, let’s use it as an instrument to get some kind of attention. That’s not the way to do it. And the Igbo are quite unique people. What others do and get away with, people don’t excuse us with it.
“So, we must look inward and find a refined way of getting what we want. For instance, when people are talking about presidency, instead of them to talk about Nigerian president, they are talking about Igbo president.
“As if you have ever had Yoruba president or Hausa president. So, we must change our language. Our problem with IPOB and the whole agitation about Igbo presidency is the language.”