I have no contact with Nnamdi Kanu — Governor Ikpeazu
Posted by News Express | 14 June 2021 | 82 times
By NSEOBONG OKON-EKONG
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has stated that he has neither spoken to nor met with the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who is a citizen of his state.
Speaking exclusively to THISDAY at the commercial city of Aba, Ikpeazu said: “I have never met him. Incidentally during Python Dance and all of that he was still around. He has never reached me. Whether he has been trying, I don’t know. He should know that I am not averse to conversation.”
Ikpeazu added that he did not know how to reach Kanu. “Sincerely speaking, I became very worried and a little laid back because of the things he says. I was just trying to see if I can read his psyche from where I stand that would reinforce my confidence in making overtures or trying but he positions himself as a factor against me. How do I then reach him? I am not somebody who will say ‘can we meet?’ Then we don’t. May be the opportunity hasn’t come.”
The Abia State governor criticised the methods adopted by the IPOB to press home their demands, while expressing willingness to engage the proscribed group in a dialogue.
Ikpeazu noted, “If he had people around him that can sit down and talk. Not in the manner he talks. If I am coming into a conversation, I come prepared to make concessions and yield ground. I also want to talk to somebody who will be prepared to yield ground too. If you are coming to hold a conversation with somebody that you know ab initio will not yield ground, what is the point going into the conversation?”
Speaking at a 2017 peace meeting the President of Igbo Youth Movement, Mr. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, tried to broker between Kanu and the South-east governors, Ikpeazu said he was not at the meeting.
He advanced reasons why the effort met a brick wall. “I do not think I was at that meeting, but I know and I heard from some people who have contacts with Kanu that he reneged on some of the terms of the conversation. I have not had the privilege of going back to Nnamdi or any of his lieutenants to say why did you renege? I am also sure that he will have some stories to tell. It goes back to trust deficits and lack of it. It borders on the fact that we are structurally defective. Even as the Chief Security Officer of the state, how much do I know in terms of the operations of the armed forces in my territory? I do not have the details of their operational mandate. I do not know their strategy. If I go and stick out my neck and claim to be able to do this and that, what if something goes wrong? You remember what happened to Governor Ortom of Benue State? He asked one notorious bandit to come to the government house to surrender. He persuaded the guy to leave his location in the forest and the guy was willing, but on his way in a convoy of state house vehicles, he was attacked and killed. We have to be responsible. We have to be trustworthy. We just have to be intentional about solving this problem because the much that has gone under the bridge already is capable of putting everything we have done in jeopardy. ”
Having exploited a particular method for many years without tangible success, Ikpeazu noted that the IPOB should change its strategy.
“If they are serious, this is the time for them to also have an arm that is capable of engaging. If my phone rings today and I pick it up and it is somebody and the person introduces himself as Commander of Eastern Security Network (ESN), the security arm of IPOB. I am not going to end the call. I will ask him ‘Mr. Commander, where are you? What is the matter?’ If he offers to talk to me, I will give him only one or two conditions. The first condition I will give is, let me know what your grievances are. If he tells me the grievances even if he gives some conditions like bringing back my late mother, which is impossible, I will also listen and then I say I have heard everything I don’t think this one is doable. This is doable and this is how long it will take and all of that. Before I take it from that room, I will ask him to give assurances that if I go into this conversation, there will be a ceasefire; that if I achieve results holding this conversation that there will be a ceasefire.
While admitting that he was aware of “some of the things that are agitating the mind of our people. I still believe strongly that some of them can be handled. It will be perhaps unfair to imagine that President Buhari can do everything (address all demands by IPOB) within two years. That will be unfair, but I dare say that he can begin the conversation.” (Courtesy, THISDAY)
Source: News Express
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