A 93-year old Mbazulike Amaechi, the only surviving First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), currently standing trial, to him and that everything will be well thereafter.
Chief Mbazulike, who led a group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo on a visit to President Buhari today, November 19 at the Presidential villa, Abuja, said: “Mr. President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire.”
The nonagenarian described the situation in the Southeast as “painful and pathetic,” lamenting that businesses have collapsed, education is crumbling, and there is fear everywhere.
He pleaded for a political, rather than military solution, requesting that if Kanu is released to him as the only First Republic Minister still alive, “he would no longer say the things he had been saying.”
He assured Buhari that he could control Nnamdi Kanu: “not because I have anything to do with them (IPOB), but I am highly respected in Igbo land today.”
Chief Amaechi recalled that twice he had interfaced with Nnamdi Kanu in the past, and the latter rescinded orders earlier given on civil disobedience.
He expressed great concerns about the happening in the Southeast, saying: ” I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa.”
This was even as President Buhari considered the request for the release of Kanu having ran contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.
“You have made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. “The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary.
“God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”
The President stressed his policy of non-interference with the Judiciary, recalling that when Nnamdi Kanu jumped bail, got arrested and brought back to the country: “I said the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court, instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from outside. I feel it’s even a favour to give him that opportunity.”
The President seized the opportunity to condole with Chief Amaechi, who recently buried his wife, praying that her soul would rest in peace.
Other people in the visiting delegation were; Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State, Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, Chief Barrister Goddy Uwazurike, former President of Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, and Mr Tagbo Mbazulike Amaechi.