*_By GOC NWADIKE_*
_”…courts have discharged and acquitted MNK, yet the Federal Government has refused to let him go. This goes to show that it’s only through a diplomatic approach; political dialogue that Maazi Nnamdi Kanu can be negotiated out. I’ll advise Ndigbo to approach this matter that way. No amount of force, legal fireworks or intimidation can move the FG to release him if they feel releasing him would not be to their interest. I advise his people to change tactics”_ – Chief Barr. Kolawole Makenjuola Esq, Lagos, (2022).
*Last* week, the Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma who also doubles as the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum of the South East region, hosted a meeting of Igbo geo-political and Socio-cultural groups, with strategic Igbo leaders and stakeholders in attendance. The worsening security situation in the region formed the basic agendum of that meeting.
Earlier before that very meeting, Gov. Hope Uzodinma had played guest to his counterpart in Lagos State, Gov. Sanwo-Olu, where he showed leadership, and intervened in the lingering crises between Igbo traders in that state, and their host State government.
One would recall that these traders have been subjected to all mannar of intimidations since after the general elections which led in most areas, the demolitions of their shops, plazas and markets, including the Alaba International market.
Gov. Uzodinma in his quest for peace and safety of Ndigbo in a foreign land, visited Lagos, and met with its governor, as well as met with our Igbo brothers, and at the end, got assurances of the governor on the safety of our people and their peaceful co-existence in that state in particular, and the region at large.
Two days ago; precisely on Thursday, Gov. Hope Uzodinma moved again to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja to meet with the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Addressing State House Correspondents shortly after his close door engagement with Mr. President, Uzodinma said he came as emissary to secure appointment for his people (leaders and stakeholders), to meet with the President.
He explained that the worsening state of insecurity in the South-East had posed a major worry to his people, that meeting with President Tinubu and discussing these issues with a view to finding permanent solution, was reason his people desired to meet with the President.
He also expressed confidence that at the end of the expected meeting between the President and his people, peace shall return again in the region.
While it’s important to appreciate the Imo governor who has shown to be a master strategist and silent achiever for this recent efforts, it is important to dig deeper, and present to Mr. President the root cause of the problems in our region, and the ultimate solution, which is the immediate and unconditional release of the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Maazi Nnamdi Kanu (MNK).
MNK who, although, had been discharged and acquitted by competent courts in the land, is still being held hostage by the Nigerian government under the custody of the Nigeria’s Secret Service (DSS).
Insecurity in the South-East snowballed to its present level since that unfortunate rendition, and his illegal continued detention has created more sorrows for us his people.
Here in Imo State, the clampdown on some suspected followers and sympathizers of MNK and his IPOB by security agents believed to be “fighting on the side of the Federal Government” has also heightened the tension and worsened the state of our security, as attacks and counter attacks from interested actors had brought about much killings, with innocent victims most times, falling on the side lines.
Many had ascribed different interpretations to everything about the situation, while nobody; not even this writer is spared from living in fears in their own land. Hundreds of men and families had since fled and abandoned the Orlu and Okigwe territories feared to be hot spots of the “war” and other criminal activities.
The people of the South-East, mainly the younger and older generations who are sympathetic to MNK’s agitation are strongly aligned to the request and position that a Free Nnamdi Kanu would mean a Free and peaceful South-East.
This, the Imo governor, is aware, would require a strong and strategic political/diplomatic approach as it is, and in his own way, going about this design just that way.
Not in any way intending to dabble into the many pressures that have been applied by various groups and non-state actors in seeking government’s attentions, one must admit once again that the recent moves by Igbo leaders led by the Imo State Gov. Hope Uzodinma are steps in the right directions.
Many opined that, had these been applied earlier rather than the kinetic approach used, Southeast wouldn’t have found itself in the current situation it has today become of.
As Igbo leaders prepare to have audience with President Ahmed Tinubu soon through the leadership ingenuity of the Imo Gov. Hope Uzodinma, may it be placed as their No. 1 request to Mr. President the release of Maazi Nnamdi Kanu for you to return home with.
Gov. Hope Uzodinma who is currently at the head of the South-East peace initiative, must make the President and his party, to understand, that for his people in Imo, especially the younger generation, anything short of the release of MNK to them may not bring about the desired result of having peace in our area.
It is unfortunate that so many groups are today operating violently in the South-East, with almost all of them claiming they are agitating for the release of MNK. It is therefore on this bases that it is necessary to release the subject, to enable us truly sieve the chaffs from the grains.
Finally at the Imo home front, Gov. Hope Uzodinma must quickly initiate the process of healing and reconciliations. An immediate cease fire must be announced and adhered to. Behind those hard diplomatic talks before the camera, Uzodinma must subtly extend both the olive branches and plenty baskets of carrots to certain quarters for a better result.
Imo is our state, and Ndimo know better how they can protect themselves. Gov. Uzodinma must find out how this can work and all hands must be on desk.
As a personal contribution, I hereby propose to the Imo legislative House the consideration of an Imo Peace and Reconciliation Commission (IPRC) that would quickly set to work, by identifying everybody and everything that truly requires to be identified and recognized.
This Commission must follow up to win the hearts of our people, especially our angry youths – the ones we talk about. The Commission must quickly come up, for the governor, and our state, the true roadmap for the eventual declaration of Amnesty and necessary reparations for the total rehabilitation of our youths.
As Gov. Hope Uzodinma is currently pursuing and driving peace in the region, nothing short of reciprocity is highly required at this point.
As efforts are being driven at home front, associates and appointees of the governor must ensure that pursuit of personal vendettas does not derail the whole essence of this initiative. We must know that, although wars are fought in the field, peace and settlements are gotten on the tables.
This is the time, therefore, to approach the table for a permanent peace in Imo State.
*_GOC NWADIKE writes from Uzoubi-Umuna in Orlu LGA of Imo State and can be reached via email@example.com_*