2023 Elections: Throwback Video of What Peter Obi Said about IPOB Members Sparks Reactions
- Peter Obi's comment on the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the FG is drawing mixed reactions
- In a 2017 TV interview, the Labour Party presidential candidate faulted the FG's proscription of IPOB, adding that he did not agree with the decision to tag the group a terrorist organisation
- While some agree with Obi, many others tackled the former governor of Anambra state for his stance on the secessionist group
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Ahead of the 2023 elections, a 2017 video showing Peter Obi's stance on the federal government’s proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has attracted fresh reactions.
Appearing as a guest on Channels TV in October 2017, the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate faulted the FG's proscription of IPOB.
He also faulted the government's designation of IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
As Nigeria heads to the 2023 polls, a video clip of the interview, published on YouTube, has been trending on social media.
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IPOB and the insurrection in the southeast
IPOB is a separatist group that is leading an agitation for an independent state of Biafra, which it wants to be carved out from the southeast geopolitical zone and some parts of the south-south.
The group has been accused of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the southeast, making the FG proscribe it in 2017 and tag it a terrorist organisation.
However, Obi, who is a former governor of Anambra state, said in the 2017 interview that IPOB was not a terrorist organisation and that the government was wrong to have proscribed the group.
“The only thing I disagree with is naming IPOB terrorists. They are not terrorists. Those who took the decision may have information that I don’t have,” he said.
“I live in Onitsha, and I can tell you they are not terrorists. They (IPOB members) are people I pass on the road every time, (and) every day.”
According to Obi, IPOB members did not constitute a threat to Nigeria.
“I meet them and live with them. In fact, I usually see (IPOB) people gathering, and not one day has there been a threat or molestation or anything from them, even when they gather,” the LP candidate said of the IPOB members.
It is unclear if Obi has changed his position or if he still maintains his stand against the proscription of IPOB and its designation as a terrorist organisation.
IPOB: Reactions trail Peter Obi's statement
Jafar Abdullahi commented on Facebook:
"Despite there several attacks on innocent people for just disobeying their illegal sit-at-home order, despite killing several security officers and still this man is defending this terrorists. Hmm imagine a terrorists sympathizer as President SMH."
"This sounds like we are cursed. Finding a reasonable leader to vote in Nigeria is more difficult than finding a particle in that box.. Imaging some one who is claiming to be the best person for presidential seat, but speaking irrationally like this."
Bashir Garba said:
"That is the president to be, how on earth will he be committed to the Nigerian project?."
Bassey Asuquo said:
"Agreed. But we must do all that is needful to stamp out the criminal elements that have infiltrated their ranks in the guise of unknown gunmen.
"The violent killings in Anambra and Imo especially must not be allowed to continue.
"We don't want another north east/west scenario with us."
Danjuma Sale said:
"This was 5 years ago. With inclusiveness, justice and fairness, IPOB and other agitations will die a natural death."
"The Presidency is not do or die. Everybody knows that IPOB is not a terrorist organization. Sometimes you just have to say the truth let whatever might happen be.
"Many people would expect him to condemn IPOB just for a political ambition but no reasonable and sensible person who wants to tell himself the truth will do that."
Nnamdi Kanu: Mike Ozekhome writes Buhari, seeks ‘political solution’
In a related development, Mike Ozekhome, the chief counsel to the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari demanding his client's immediate release.
In the letter dated Monday, October 3, Ozekhome premised his petition on the need to seek a political solution to the travails of the embattled IPOB leader.
In the letter, which has in copy Abubakar Malami, the minister of justice, Ozekhome asked the president to direct the Attorney General of the Federation to facilitate the release.