Read What Nnamdi Kanu Told Us In Prison — Pat Utomi

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What Nnamdi Kanu Told Us In Prison — Pat Utomi

A renowned economist and previous presidential candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi, tells TOBI AWORINDE that Nnamdi Kanu’s continued detention is a contravention of the rule of thumb of law


    Please, narrate your experience at some stage in the go to of Igbo leaders to the chief of the Indigenous human beings of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in prison.


    For some time now, a collection folks have been concerned in leadership mentoring. we've mentored a set of Igbo specialists who are scattered round the arena, many inside the america, some in Nigeria, some in Europe. a number of us had argued that the time for a new generation of leaders is wanted. however in some methods, there was a failure of management across the united states of america. but greater importantly, in Igboland, we wanted a new vision and new kinds of management vistas. That dialogue led to a international institution called Nzuko Umunna. Nzuko Umunna in Igbo essentially is a form of city corridor assembly of brothers.


    We’ve been energetic on more than one communique structures wherein we're essentially ceding leadership to a collection of people of their late 20s and 30s, a number of whom are within the US coordinating sports nationwide and round the sector. That has resulted in some of leadership initiatives wherein problems, political, financial and social, have been advanced and canvassed, and matters of schooling, industrialisation and all of those have been within the offing. some of the issues that have come out of such discussions are those which are central to the new Igbo essence, to uplift and uphold the glory of every Igbo guy and interact stoutly to make sure no one abuses and takes the Igbo person with no consideration anywhere inside the world. So, one of the check instances manifestly, which turned into staring us inside the face, changed into the case of the incarceration ultra vires the rule of thumb of regulation. Of direction, there has been an imperative of engagement. As a part of worldwide consultations, we have been requested by this group to pay a courtesy name and get the factor of view of the gentleman (Kanu) himself, and after that, to express perspectives to the arena. And that became what happened the previous day (Tuesday).


    for a way long has Nzuko Umunna existed as a proper entity?


    In a few approaches, it's far a migration from numerous businesses and systems. there is, as an instance, what is known as the Igbo Intelligential discussion board. There are numerous other corporations, like the suppose Tank, Aka Ikenga, all of these. because values have been critical to redeeming the Igbo state, people of robust values had been literally handpicked from numerous other corporations to form this kind of frame. in this unique shape, it has been in lifestyles for possibly a touch less than a year or approximately a year. but it nevertheless has reference into some of the alternative companies and platforms.


    who're the govt members and the general leader of the institution?


    there's a guidance organization from america. There are people in Nigeria who also are (steering). there may be a board of trustees, in which i'm lively. but as I stated, the critical management turned into given to the 20- and 30-year-olds, who are usually intellectuals however they may be youngand more active. The person playing a steerage role in this group from Texas was an assistant of mine more than one years ago. he is currently a PhD candidate within the US. His name is Joseph Oduomoko.


    How many of you went to go to Kanu in Kuje jail?


    There have been many those who wanted to go however we had to maintain it trimmed. We were approximately 14, if I don't forget successfully. We had interesting conversations with him. We asked him to inform us what his perspectives were on matters, to proportion on his modern-day incarceration experience, and that turned into a beneficial communique. It helped provide us an insight into his cognizance due to the fact honestly, the group (IPOB) is a cognizance movement. if you keep in mind Steve Biko and the Black awareness movement in South Africa, this organization is (also) an Igbo renaissance attention movement.


    can you share some of the matters he instructed you?


    We discussed the nation of the united states and perceptions of degrees of justice inside the u . s . and why the economy is challenged: due to rules of exclusion. We mentioned what we usually called the democratisation of discontent in Nigeria. that is to mention there appears to be unhappiness about Nigeria everywhere around Nigeria, and therefore, the want to exchange direction for the u . s . a .. The complete concept is to create a platform for continuing verbal exchange, to harmonise the views of various human beings about what the maximum suitable solution is to this project of malcontent.


    What are Kanu’s views on these things you discussed?


    I don’t suppose it's far fair to be his spokesperson. He can represent himself and talk for himself. What I took away from the meeting is that he is a totally clever individual. He certainly isn't mad. He’s very strategic and targeted.


    What did you observe approximately the conditions wherein he's being saved?


    He seemed quite calm and comfy. there may be a assembly vicinity; he got here to the assembly location. We didn’t visit into the cellular. We did now not speak meals and stuff like that. but I think the prison workforce and wardens have been very well mannered and professional. That changed into correct.


    The Federal authorities has accused him of treasonable and inciting acts. Do you think it is fair to name Kanu a felon and a danger to country wide safety?


    From my angle, in reality now not. Freedom of expression does not constitute risk to countrywide protection, specially when you have the right to answer. The americans have a doctrine on freedom of expression and i have been privileged to be on the usa worldwide traveler Programme that became centered specifically on freedom of expression.


    amongst people who participated in that programme with me have been Senator Shehu Sani and Hon. Abike Dabiri. a part of the convention on freedom of expression is, “allow one thousand flowers bloom, if there's a lie being advised, sufficient reality will suffocate the lifestyles inside the marketplace of ideas.” I suppose that could be a very healthful manner to study expression because the speak to limit or save you expression drives down humans’s ideas into silos with more threatening destiny results.


    So, I suppose that there are sufficient retailers for a exclusive attitude offered by way of any citizen that the rule of thumb of law and the thoughts of freedom of expression are much more essential within the order of what is good or bad for society than repressive prevention of expression.


    in your assembly with Kanu, turned into there any discussion of him placing apart his pro-Biafra agitation in change for his release?


    initially, two courts of in a position jurisdiction have attempted him. One gave him a bail due to the fact he did no longer locate the matter to be of excessive treason, glaringly. If it changed into excessive treason, he (the decide) wouldn’t supply him a bail. the second one absolutely discharged and acquitted him, calling for his instant release. really, not doing so is to do harm to the concept of the guideline of law. And wherein the rule of law is assaulted, while impunity reigns — due to the fact this is the cause we (All Progressives Congress) ran towards the Peoples Democratic party; we argued that they had been a celebration of impunity. it would be irrelevant for us to come to be a celebration of impunity. So, the law is there and courts of ready jurisdiction have requested for his launch. I think that it is beside the point to retain to hold a person like that. and that i think it's miles even greater beside the point to ask a person to publish to a denial of his freedom, to specific himself within the destiny as foundation for giving him his freedom, which is what, ‘Promise that you can’t talk once more, so we are able to permit you to pass,’ amounts to. one of the maximum crucial factors in the development and human prosperity is while institutions have their legitimacy challenged by way of impunity or by using refusing to obey regulation, as an example. That brings extra harm to the relaxation of society than something may be dysfunctional about allowing someone to explicit views that you are not happy with.


    How do you suspect Kanu’s detention will affect the Igbo in the 2019 presidential elections?


    i am no longer a soothsayer. It isn't my area to invest on presidential elections. it is simply my area as a citizen to exercising citizenship behaviour and factor to the truth that abuse of the guideline of law jeopardises my freedom because I can be the following sufferer. That’s all.


    Are you in support of Biafra?


    I don’t recognize what that means. I don’t think you have got met absolutely everyone who is extra Nigerian than me, each in my upbringing and the things that i have stated. if you want to evaluate, you just go lower back to my history and examine, and discover if you or anybody you already know is extra Nigerian than i've been. i was born in Kaduna (kingdom). i used to be baptised in Jos (Plateau country). I lived in Maiduguri (Borno state) as an toddler. I began school in Kano (state); the bulk of my number one education become in Gusau, now in Zamfara kingdom. I commenced secondary college in Onitsha (Anambra state). Then I had the bulk of my secondary schooling in Loyola college Ibadan. I attended the college of Nigeria (Nsukka, Enugu nation). if you test my records, one of the matters i'm accused of is that i'm more Yoruba than whatever else. So, I suppose that you don’t want to ask me a query approximately that.


    How do you watched Kanu’s endured detention could have an effect on Biafra agitations going forward?


    there's a e book that became published remaining year and at the presentation of that e book, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar referred to as for a restructuring of Nigeria. The identify of that book written by using Chido Onumah is we're All Biafrans. Now, Biafra is utilized in that title as a metaphor to signify that across the board in Nigeria, human beings feel this first rate discontent. In impact, all Nigerians literally have grow to be Biafrans in the experience of discontent with the Nigerian undertaking. if you see the declaration that we made, it started with a quote from a announcement made just closing week by Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in which he said “Nigeria isn't always running.” So, if Nigerians are honest in expressing it (their discontent) in all forms of distinct ways and the metaphor for that expression is the phrase that rallies a folks that felt discontent with Nigeria many years in the past, that word being ‘Biafra,’ I think you need to be careful together with your interpretation of what people mean while they are saying ‘Biafra.’ Biafra essentially is a seize-all word for being sad.


    Are you continue to with the APC?


    Of path, i am a passionate, committed member of the APC nevertheless, and considered one of my important commitments is to work internally for the reform of the APC from inside.


    If the Buhari government has now not heeded calls to launch Kanu to this point, what new method will you're taking as Igbo elders?


    we will move the bridge while we get there. We tempo it and take it someday at a time.


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