The Igbo community in Ekiti Thursday showered heroic welcome on Governor Ayodele Fayose for identifying with the pro-Biafra leader, Nnamdi Kanu in court on Wednesday, saying he has indeed proved to be their own brother from a distant land.
Fayose had attended the court trial of Kanu and also appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to use his veto power to order an unconditional release of the pro-Biafra leader.
Kanu had been charged with tresnable felony for declaring support for Republic of Biafra and calling for succession of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria.
Welcoming Fayose into Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital yesterday evening, the excited and jubilant Igbo people sang the governor’s praisechants, drummed local instruments and danced in their cultural way to appreciate what they described as a deed that can only be done by one who truly loves them as a brother.
Leader of the Igbo group, Chief Nathaniel Uzomah, President Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said: “We have come to appreciate you for identifying with our dear brother, Nnamdi Kanu. We have called you Nwannedinuba, meaning our brother from a distant land for this singular act, you have proved to be our own brother indeed.
“There is nobody who doesn’t know that Nigeria is currently sick. And a sick man seeks for a doctor. The doctor advises him and the advice we are giving to government to heal Nigeria is demand for dialogue. Former President Goodluck convoked a sovereign national conference and issues raised were resolved.
“We don’t know why this government is not implementing the reports and recommendations of that conference. But if you don’t want to adopt that conference recommendation, convoke your own and resolve issues that we have. Let us come to a round table to discuss. This country belongs to all of us.”
Responding, Fayose said he identified with Kanu because he believed the pro-Biafra leader was being unfailry treated.
“We are Nigerians and this country belongs to all of us. I don’t want the division of this country but the unity. But as much as we don’t want the division of this country we don’t want oppression.
“We are not in military era. Not in 1984, we are in a 21st century when only dialogue is the way forward in a situation that we have found ourselves.
“We urge Mr. President to show mercy to all the people in jail now for no just cause. God has shown mercy to him by granting him recovery after he has been sick. He should therefore show mercy to Kanu, Dansuki, ElZakzay and others.
“I believe he is a gentleman and he would release them unconditionally.
“I believe in justice and fairness. For Nigeria to move forward we have to dialogue, we have to restructure this country.
“We have to come together and dialogue on how we can be together. We cannot continue to jettison the fact that all is not well. A lot of people are not happy. We are from different ethnic backgrounds. We have to come together and dialogue.
“We cannot say we would use force to make people believe in what we want them to believe in. And the moment you try to stop people from agitating, you would be creating more problems. You don’t know what would happen tomorrow, an Hausaman is there today. An Ijaw man was there yesterday, another person would be there tommorow.
“LBut if the framework is there for everyone to co-exist as a nation, it would be easy for us to stay together. As it is now, all is not well. I went to court to identify with Nnamdi Kanu because I felt that he is currently being unjustly treated. If nobody stands for somebody, they would think it is normal for them to continue to oppress us.
“You would recall that I had warned many months back that the current administration has come for vendetta. They do not represent the collective interest of Nigerians. They wanted power at all cost and the way they use the power today is a clear indication that they don’t want anyone to question them. They are here to silence everybody with brute force and I want to remind them that this is democracy and everyone has a right to association, good life must remain. Don’t go and clamp people into jail because their voice is not what you want to hear.
“Our judiciary must be given free hand to dispense justice for all. As it is now, the way they are operating in this country, the average man will continue to suffer.
“I want to assure that Kanu will one day walk into freedom. God has a way of solving our problems in this country. When Obasanjo and others were incecerated and it appeared they would rot in jail, God miraculously freed them and Obasanjo did not only walk free, but he walked into the Aso Rock as President.
“Unfortunately, when such people see others now being oppressed, they are keeping quiet. When the likes of Obasanjo keep quiet in the face of this oppression, the innocent would suffer. When you have gone through an experience, you are supposed to use it to assist others. Obasanjo keeping quiet on this matter is not fair.”
Reacting to critical views from APC on his incentives for youths registering for voters cards in the state, he said: “Those criticising me for giving stipends to those coming to register for voters’ card do not know what they are saying. Are we voting now? As it is now, so many people do not even have the money to go to where they would register.
“They are so poor that they cannot afford to take ordinary commercial bike to where they would vote. Do we leave them and say they should forget it? Even those who are above 18 and are graduates but have no jobs cannot afford to transport themselves to go and register.
“Our duty is to provide means for them to get to where they are going to register and vote. That is what we are doing. I want to also say that the huge turn-out you have seen today is as a result of that mobilisation. The turn-out is huge and as a state that is having elections next year, we are fully ready. If APC was doing what I am doing, they would not be complaining. But they are doing nothing here. They are not on ground.”