The 2019 presidential election may have come and gone but the remnants from the dust raised during the campaign have yet to completely settle. This is as new information reaching 247ureports.com from a consortium of competent sources knowledgeable of the activities of the group, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra [IPOB] – indicates the leadership of the group may have succumbed to the allure of financial inducement through the then presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP].
As a caveat, the IPOB group through its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had proclaimed that the peoples of the former Eastern Region who were formerly known as the people of Biafra long before the creation of Nigeria by the would-be colonial masters – no longer wants to be referred to as Nigerians. They want to be referred to as Biafrans. A return to their original identity of Biafra. A sovereign identity.
Through this end, the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu devised a strategy to regain the sovereignty of Biafra through peaceful agitation. One of his strategies was to call for a referendum on Biafra. He sought to force the federal government of Nigeria into conducting the referendum by calling on the followers and sympathizers of the IPOB struggle to refrain from participating in the electoral process – until a referendum is called by the federal government.
With Nnamdi Kanu’s release from prison after an 18months stay in detention, the leader of the IPOB turned his eyes on the Anambra gubernatorial election of 2017 – of which Governor Willie Obiano was gunning for re-election under the APGA against the candidates from PDP and APC. Mazi Kanu who was the man of the hour – pulling unprecedented crowds in the millions and causing shockwaves across the regions of the country – declared to his followers to refrain from participating in the election process.
Mazi Kanu was clearly a force. Many within the South East geopolitical block showered him with praises, secret admirations and gifts. The entire South East governors made large financial contributions to IPOB. Governor Willie Obiano contributed two Prado Jeeps and $50,000 through his close aide and man-Friday, Primus Odili. The Abia State governor, Ikpeazu provided security and unspecified cash contribution. Orji Uzor Kalu was a frequent visitor to Mazi Kanu’s resident to hold private discussions and to negotiate terms and conditions of pending bribes/gifts.
By the time the presidential election of 2019 rolled around, the leader of IPOB had been chased out of Nigeria, and the IPOB had been declared an illegal group in Nigeria. Mazi Kanu who was thought to be dead, made a surprising appearance in Israel – from where he began firing his gospel of Biafra Restoration. With it, he continued his call for referendum. “No Referendum no election”.
From political standpoint, the continued gospel did not favor the Abubakar Atiku/Peter Obi presidential campaign ticket under PDP banner – particularly against a Mohammadu Buhari/Yemi Osibanjo candidacy. The Atiku presidential ticket were hopeful of a large support from the South East and South South geopolitical block – the same block that Mazi Kanu draws followership from.
To succeed in having a large percentage of the votes coming out of the South East & South South block, Atiku believed he needed Nnamdi Kanu to soft pedal on his no referendum no election gospel.
According to a high level source in the then Atiku campaign, a line of communication was established between the Atiku team and the leadership of IPOB. The communication quickly developed into a negotiation between the two teams. The negotiations did not start off smoothly. According to our source, the negotiations halted due to demands put forth by Mazi Kanu. He wanted Atiku himself to put in writing that he [Atiku] would call for a referendum 6 months into his presidency. The Atiku team laughed at the demand, and the negotiation stalled. But the negotiators returned to the table when Nnamdi Kanu timely declared that Abubakar Atiku was not a citizen of Nigeria and therefore should not be eligible for the same elections. “Do you know that Atiku Abubakar is from Cameroon? His area of Adamawa was in Cameroon”, Nnamdi Kanu said in a live broadcast on Radio Biafra broadcast of Saturday February 2, 2019.
Shortly after the broadcast, the negotiators finalized on the terms and conditions. Mazi Kanu, in an about face, lifted the ban on “no referendum no election”, indicating that Atiku had fulfilled all the conditions giving to him by IPOB that he would call for a referendum. He even urged his supporters to vote for the duo of Atiku and Peter Obi.
The exact amount disbursed to Mazi Kanu is not known to 247ureports.com but it is certain monies were remitted in return for the lift on the ban. This is according to a source who participated in the negotiation process.
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