The leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, has warned Igbo leaders not to antagonise the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Adebanjo gave the warning in an exclusive interview with TheNiche, stating that Kanu committed no crime and cautioned Ndigbo against alienating him.
“I have told Igbo leaders, do not antagonise IPOB,” he said.
Adebanjo, who said he has never met Kanu but he believes 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 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 regretted 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.
The protégé of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo 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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