Former Governor Of Abia State and Chieftain of the All progressives Congress Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu in a recent special aired interview ‘democracy today’ anchored by ace broadcaster AIT’s Odion Bello, Kalu bared his mind on the programme democracy today conversation with Nnamdi Kanu when he visited him in Kuje prison , the chances of APC in the forthcoming Anambra elections well was other leadership issues in Nigeria.
Enjoy the excerpts as compiled by Kenneth Udeh from Abuja.
Let me start this way straight away, you said Biafra is not possible why did you say so?
Let me correct you I said there is no need for it now. Because dividing the country would be a mistake. What matters is for people to live under the rule of law, social justice , ability to exist and true federalism.
I don’t think the clamour to separate the country is anything that would help anybody. What majority of the Nigerian not only the Igbo people need is to obey the law. If a court in Abia gives an order that order must be obeyed if another court in Benin gives an order that order must be obeyed.
If I Orji Kalu drives against traffic light and I am caught I should be punished . What the country is looking for is one rule for everybody .
There is this Federal Government and IPOB face off you belong to the ruling party and you are an Igbo leader, do you see yourself in position of formulating a truce between the federal government and IPOB?
To correct you I am an Igbo man from Igboland not an Igbo leader .
*(Cuts in ) Really ??*
Yes. We have been doing a lot to put a truce between them, we have done a lot underground, we been talking to both parties that is why you can see some level of peace now in Abia and Onitsha axis where the IPOB have a stronghold. I believe all parties are on deck to find a common ground. We have witnessed these issues from time on. The people that said that they want to separate are not very strong they are very weak.
My only concern is that they are endangering a lot of Igbos because when they go to confront the military or when they are confronted by the military the goods been damaged are owned by Igbos and the people being killed are Igbos . I am a trader and I trade on cash crops and all the rest and I know what I have suffered in the last 9 months or there about due to this issue .
You were the Ist Igbo leader or Igbo man as you like to put it, if you get where I am going to visit Nnamdi Kanu in prison.*
(Cuts in ) Yes I was the ist Nigerian man to visit him because it was the right thing to do. Because nobody wanted to see him , I was the ist to go to the prison to see him . Everybody was afraid to see him. They were scared to identify with him.
As for me I am not afraid of death I am not afraid of anybody . I only want to maintain the rule of law, he was remanded in prison by court of competent jurisdiction and a court of record. Even the UN charter recognises that anyone remanded in prison by an official court can be visited by anybody so I applied that wisdom to myself .
I want to guess that part of the things you would have told Kanu while in prison was to drop the idea of IPOB. Maybe you did not sound convincing enough.
No! I spent two hours 10 minutes with Nnamdi Kanu and I sounded very convincing , at some point he was here and there and then later on he said you know we can’t drop this fight we have gone very far and I reminded him that a good general is a general that fights and goes back to fight another day a worse one is the one that dies in the battle. To me not that I only visited him I went out of my way as far as visiting both his parents I talked to them I gave them reasons why they should not encourage him to continue in this manner and he refused.
When he came out of prison he didn’t make any attempt to visit those who wished him well he went for those who wanted to play politics with him and that is where we are. They have been shouting Biafra nobody touched them because the issue went beyond where it was supposed to be . People who wanted to use them to play politics we’re telling them that everything is possible that is where we are, they got him into trouble. I have nothing against those clamouring that they want Biafra infact it is their constitutional right I can never tell anybody not to agitate . But the question is ; Is it possible ? Is it within the norms of our constitution? The constitution is very clear there is nowhere in the constitution where we have separation on how to divide the country.
The constitution has chapters on how to unite the country , but nowhere can you find referendum or restructuring. To me all these calls and these people making these calls let us use the 2014 conference report . Since that conference was bipartisan and all people headed by a very good jurist Justice Idris Kutugi , all Nigerians where there former Governors, former Ministers, Serving political leaders , Security Agencies , even religious bodies were there. Even the South east was chaired by Major General Ike Nwachukwu . I mean this a fantastic document that is supposed to be implemented as a starting point and giving the South East one more state .
There is this story that Kanu’s whereabout is unknown can I quote you that having said that he is in London?
I didn’t say categorically that he was in London I told the punch newspaper which you can read what I said in the punch. Because when I returned from the United States of America on the 14th of September and on the 15th I went straight to Abia because the thing was escalating . I consulted some of them (IPOB) I consulted the security agencies , the army , the police , SSS and the rest of them and I tried to douse the tension to go down. I started looking for Kanu himself to talk to him.
So somebody told me he went to a hotel and I sent people to the hotel and I called one of his relation who came to my house and I asked him where is Kanu that I really want to talk to him . He said that I should not bother myself and I told the punch whether this fellow was telling me lies or truth is what I don’t know . I said it and it’s in the paper. I didn’t say I discussed with Kanu and he told me he had left for London . He’s relation told me I should not bother about his safety because I told him that what matters to me is the safety of the man.
I wanted to bring the man to my house in Igbere and make arrangements with the federal authorities and persuade them for us to find a common ground. I never wanted the security agents to bundle him and rough handle him I only wanted to bring him to my house and wade into the security agencies and talk to the federal authorities which is what I did when he was in prison . I am suprised at the attitude of Kanu because he knew all the things we discussed , he neglected them because he wanted to play politics . He was released and he started going about.
Let me ask you is it fair on the court that gave him bail? Is it fair on the federal government of Nigeria that the orders of court of order was being disobeyed? That order was not that of Justice Nyako at all it was the law of Nigeria . These are things I reminded him that he must obey our laws.
Even if he was dissatisfied with the order there is nothing about human right when a court of competent jurisdiction has given a judgement. Listen I am here for my own freedom in 2007 the same court gave me a condition where I can still be in Nigeria it’s not a criminal case but I accepted those conditions and I wanted to challenge those conditions I would move to an appellate court where justices of the court of appeal will seat and re-write.
So I continue blaming our elders, our friends, my people who are saying his human rights have been tampered with i disagree because the court is of competent jurisdiction that order was not that of Buhari, it was not that of chief of army staff, neither was it of the director of the SS or anybody it was the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
So he could have mellowed down and obeyed that order and allow his members to continue carrying their flag rather than disobeying that order and nobody would disturb anybody. But when you set off to molest people on the road, people are afraid to say the truth I’m not afraid of death or a anybody you know me from my university days I’m still the same person I don’t care what anybody says what matters most to me is justice being applied where it is supposed to be applied. If Kanu had gone ahead to obey that court order, he was asked not to appear in a public of more that. 10 persons and the 2nd in command would be the one carrying their Biafra flag nobody would touch him because he was not given any order by the court.
If Kanu wanted to see people then they should come to his house and see him but what he did which you saw all over social media was mounting a guard if honour, he embarked on insulting everybody, he insulted the sun newspapers, he insulted the owner of sun newspapers, he insulted me personally that some were writing against him and bought been bought over by Hausa/Fulani people and Yoruba people. How can you run a republic when you are not in good terms with the Yorubas, you’re not in good terms with Hausa, the Ijaws and other tribes so whom will you be in good terms with? The issue is that he should go back and purge himself with the realities of today.
Watch the full interview video below:
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