Nnamdi Kanu, a great Igbo man – Ben Nwabueze
,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 on the visit were the Deputy leader of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, Mrs. Maria Okwor, the Secretary, Evang. Elliot Ukoh and the publicity secretary, Rev. Fr. John Odey, among others.
Nwabueze declared that: “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”, he added.
Nwabueze, who is the leader of the Igbo Leaders of Thought, further stated that “the case of Nnamdi Kanu is a lesson in good governance and good leadership.
“First, it teaches the values and virtues of dialogue as a strategy in governance and leadership. As I counseled in my book titled: ‘The National Question’, Nnamdi Kanu and other people agitating for justice and equitable treatment should have been engaged in dialogue and their complaints listened to, with a view to possible amelioration.
“Secondly, 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 tive 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.
“On the contrary, it is essentially an agitation for regional autonomy. By the government’s wrong approach to the agitation, the agitation has been turned into something threatening to our corporate existence.
“The third lesson to learn from Nnamdi Kanu’s case is directed to him and the other agitators. It is this- self determination is or 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.
“Lastly, I congratulate Nnamdi Kanu and his fellow sufferers from long undeserved incarceration, for their eventful release from imprisonment.”
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 course of Ndigbo.”
The IPOB leader added that he had asked for the setting up of Council of Elders owing to the enormous benefits he derived from tapping from the wisdom of the elders in his drive for the emancipation of the Igbo race.
He told Nwabueze that “I will continue to consult you I plead that you make your words of wisdom available to us at all times; we shall do everything possible to uphold the honour and dignity of our people.”