By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and renowned Constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze reportedly prevailed on the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to embrace restructuring and jettison his secessionist agenda shortly before the launch of Operation Python Dance II by the military.
In a statement made available to newsmenÂ on Friday, Founder, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Deputy Secretary of the Igbo Leaders of Thought, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko who attended the parley said prior to the invasion of his Umuahia country home by soldiers, Kanu had in principle agreed to go in line with the demands for restructuring.
â€œThe 30th of August, 2017 meeting between Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and South East Governors was historic, in the sense that Prof. Ben Nwabueze made Kanu to adjust his position in a landmark development.
Because of Kanuâ€™s deep respect for Prof. Ben Nwabueze, whom he trusts absolutely, Kanu accepted in principle, Prof. Nwabuezeâ€™s proposal that the IPOB accepts the restructuring of Nigeria and step down the agitation for secession.
â€œBut the restructuring should be a return to the 1963 constitution format. Kanu in reverence to Prof. Nwabueze, agreed in principle to the Nwabueze proposal, but insisted on discussing with and carrying along the entire leadership of the IPOB, both at home and in the Diaspora.
â€œThe meeting also agreed to meet again within days in order to fine tune and conclude the agreements. It was also agreed that IPOB will not disrupt any elections. But most importantly, Kanu accepted Prof. Nwabuezeâ€™s suggestions that IPOB demands are not absolute.â€
Meaning that the group will have to shift ground in subsequent meetings.
â€œKanu was cautious not to take solo decisions without carrying his group along and therefore promised to bring the groupâ€™s leaders to the next meeting,â€ he noted.
Uko further noted that those behind the military invasion and attacks in Umuahia were opposed to peaceful resolution of the â€œloss of confidence in Nigeria by millions of Eastern Youths and have chosen to sustain the status quo through force of armsâ€.
The development reportedly took place before the August 30 meeting between Kanu and South East Governors.
This is coming as the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA); a pro-restructuring group yesterday announced plans to honour Kanu in October.
The Deputy Leader of the group, Mrs. Maria Okwor in a statement made available to newsmen in Enugu, noted that Kanu would be honoured at a presentation of a book titled â€œHow Nnamdi Kanu Restructured Nigeriaâ€.
Meanwhile, the ECA stated that the book it produced, documents the travails, the journey and frustrations in the spirited attempt by good men and women to save Nigeria from collapse, through a holistic restructuring of the polity back to true federalism and regional autonomy.
â€œThe book reveals how Nigeria is crippled by an over-powerful center, prebendalism, unitary structure, ethnic divisions, corruption and ill-fitting military constitution. The book also recalls the struggles by Late Anthony Enahoro, Late Abraham Adesanya, Late Rotimi Williams, and Late Tunji Braithwaite etc. to reconstruct and redesign Nigeria through a wholesome restructuring of the polity that will throw up a new peopleâ€™s constitution that would be affirmed at a referendum.
â€œThe book exposes the reasons why enemies of progress have consistently killed reports of past National Conferences, just so they could continue to hold Nigerians hostage and deny the people opportunity to take back their country from the vicious cabal that believes they are born to rule and dominate others forever.
â€œKanu is being honoured for achieving under two years the restructuring of Nigeria, something that seemed impossible just two years ago,â€ ECA deputy leader stated.
She stressed that as every group and government had set up their own committee on restructuring, going round organising public hearings/sittings, the unborn generations of Nigeria will forever remain grateful to Nnamdi Kanu for moving the restructuring agenda from the realm of speculation into reality, something he achieved at great sacrifice.