Former spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council in the South East, Dr. Josef Onoh has blamed the continuous detention of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu on Southeast leaders.
He urged South East Governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and other groups calling for the release of Kanu to first of all engage with the families of the victims who suffered one casualty or the other from violence associated with IPOB.
Naija News reports that Governors Chukwuma Soludo (Anambra); Peter Mbah (Enugu) and the new President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, among other politicians have demanded the release of Kanu
Reacting, Onoh argued that it was unrealistic to keep demanding for the release of the embattled leader from President Tinubu while ignoring the victims of Kanu’s lethal force.
He insisted that it would only be fair to set up a commission to look into the matters involved with the criminal elements associated with IPOB.
Onoh said that the southeast leaders have continually suffered from willful amnesia by denying the dangers posed by IPOB activities in their region.
He noted that President Tinubu is a freedom fighter who engaged in conventional methods to negotiate democracy in Nigeria and would not be less concerned in any freedom negotiation that upholds the tenants of the rule of law and engagement.
He insisted that the South East leaders ought to apologise for IPOB deeds before demanding the release of Kanu.
He said, “Even IPOB had come out to claim their noninvolvement in some of these dastardly acts and have volunteered to work with the government and security agencies to fish out the criminal elements that have hijacked their organization, but the immediate past governors of the South East refused to engage them.
“In fact, they were enjoying the mayhem and sit-at-home. They played the role of victims more than the affected, showed no support for the security agencies nor the safety of the indigenes, visitors, and residents of their states, rather they protected themselves in their respective Government houses while others were killed by the criminal elements, including men and women of our security agencies.
“What did we say to the family of Dr. Chike Akunyili who was savagely murdered in the open street, Joe Igbokwe whose house was burnt, attack on Senator Ifeanyi Ubah that resulted in the death of his security aides; attack on Former Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State, Staff of the America Embassy who were recently murdered in Anambra State, just to mention but a few.”
He alleged that the South East leaders are playing politics Nnamdi Kanu and have failed to resolve the matter squarely, adding that apart from engaging with the families of the victims of IPOB violence, Ndigbo should collectively tender an apology for the atrocities of the criminal elements in IPOB.
“I’m not against the release of Nnamdi Kanu, after all, I’ve said before that the release of Kanu is more important than the Senate Presidency being zoned to the South East, but our Southeast leaders and Governors must take responsibility for some actions.
“When we wrong someone we know, even unintentionally, we are generally expected to apologize. The person we hurt feels entitled to an admission of error and an expression of regret. We, in turn, try to ameliorate the situation by saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ and perhaps make restitution. To date, no restitution has been made to surviving families of IPOB victims.
“The first question then is, who exactly is the guilty party? The degree of damage is an issue as well. When a leader feels obliged to apologize, especially for a trespass in which followers were involved, the harm inflicted was likely serious, grievous widespread, and enduring.
“But when we’re acting as leaders, it’s not just to use the release of Nnamdi Kanu to play politics or publicize it in media by asking Mr. President to release him, the circumstances are different. Leaders are responsible not only for their own behavior but also for that of their followers, who might number in the hundreds, thousands, or even millions as in the case of IPOB.
“Since leaders speak for, as well as to, their followers, their apologies have broad implications. The act of apology is carried out not merely at the level of the individual but also at the level of the institution. It is not only personal but also political. It is a performance in which every expression matters and every word becomes part of the public record as shown in the way they call for Nnamdi Kanu’s release is now made public record by various actors in the South East.“