As the 2019 general election draws near, the leader of the Indigenous Peole of Biafra, (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu is being courted by leaders of top political parties in the country due to his large followership in the south east of the country and many of his tribesmen who reside in different parts of the country, AMi has learnt.
Kanu, who is championing the pro-Biafra agitation in the South-East and parts of the South-South was recently released on bail by a Federal High court. The sit-at-home order by IPOB, in May this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the defunct Republic of Biafra and honour heroes and heroines of the struggle, was complied with in the five states of the South East. Outside the South East, the directive was partly complied with in Port Harcourt, Asaba and Bayelsa.
Most markets, banks and schools in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states, including those in the rural areas, were closed and the roads were totally deserted. All commercial activities were paralysed. The shutdown of the states was in spite of the plea by South-East governors and other influential political leaders especially those in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). There was also massive police and security presence, who patrolled streets and carried out air surveillance with helicopters to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
“Notable politicians in the zone have opened communication link with Kanu because of massive support he enjoys in and outside Igboland because as you know, politics is a game of numbers” a source who refused to be quoted told Nigerian NewsDirect.
Recently, South East governors held a meeting with Kanu in Enugu. Governors in attendance were Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi.
Nkem Okeke, deputy governor of Anambra State, represented Governor Willie Obiano.
Rochas Okorocha and Okezie Ikpeazu of Imo and Abia states respectively, were absent, and were not represented. A source at the meeting told AMi that both governors were outside the country.
Kanu was accompanied to the meeting by elder statesman, Professor Ben Nwabueze, and founder of the Igbo Youth Movement, Evangelist Elliot Uko
Top on the discussion was the IPOB’s call for a boycott of the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State, which sources at the meeting said Kanu had soft pedalled.
Although Kanu is from SouthEast where the opposition PDP is making waves, some of the recently defected influential politicians from the zone are leading communication link with the IPOB leader.
A source said key political figures in the zone had impressed it on the presidency that it would be politically suicidal for the president to neglect a region that had a total accredited figure of three million, sixty thousand and ninety three (3,060,093) with about 80% going to PDP while APC had just one hundred and ninety eight thousand, two hundred and forty eight representing six percent for APC.
“The President was able to win because he has tremendous support from the north but if PDP fields a popular northern candidate in 2019, the President may not enjoy such huge votes as the north may be divided and it will be votes from other zones especially South East will be the deciding factor”
Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that there were efforts by some bigwigs in the zone close to the Presidency to give Kanu a soft-landing for him and also a juicy appointment or contract to lure him into the ruling party,
In a telephone interview with AMi the Chairman of APC Spokesmen forum, Joe Igbokwe described the meeting of South East governors with Kanu as soft-landing for the young man because he had crossed the redline by violating his bail conditions and governors know if he is arrested again, it will be difficult to secure his release”.
Igbokwe who admitted that Kanu was very popular and could win any election in his native Abia State advised him to join politics.
“All his agitations are better addressed if he joins politics, he has many young people following him everywhere but he should note that all his hate speeches can lead to war”.