Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate for the February election, announced yesterday that if elected president of Nigeria, he intends to release Nnamdi Kanu, the imprisoned leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), without conditions.
Kanu has been in the detention facility of the Department of State Services (DSS) since June 2021 when he was intercepted and ‘renditioned’ to Nigeria from Kenya by the federal government.
Confirming Atiku’s plan, Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of Atiku/Okowa campaign in Anambra State, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, said the PDP candidate will rely on the Appeal Court judgement to release the Biafra agitator.
According to Okonkwo, the appellate court was very explicit that Kanu should be a free man and no court can try him again for the alleged offence.
The PDP chieftain also disclosed that one of Atiku’s key programmes would be to ‘instil permanent peace’ in parts of the country especially the South-east region.
To achieve this, he said Atiku would release all South-east agitators in detention and ensure that the tension in the region is doused.
He, therefore, urged the people of the zone to throw their weight behind the PDP candidate to win the February 25 poll, knowing that he has in mind the best interest of the region.
“I am saying this with every sense of responsibility that Atiku will grant Nnamdi Kanu unconditional release. That is in Atiku’s agenda for permanent peace in the South-east. In addition, he will also apply political solution to release all those genuine IPOB agitators in detention without trial.
“Atiku’s government will have serious talks with the group and others, with the view to restoring their faith in the country, and make them part of the effort for better Nigeria. However, the criminal elements will be dealt with decisively.
“What we are now therefore saying is for this to happen, peace must reign for election in the South-east, and the need for the South Easterners to fall behind PDP,”he said.
With this plan, Atiku, he noted is the only candidate that has a plan to address the situation in the South-east, to the benefit of the region and country generally.
Meanwhile, Atiku yesterday stated that the constant gaffes of his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu, which started as a comic relief was slowly becoming a tragedy and an embarrassment to Nigeria.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Atiku pointed out that since Tinubu declared his intention to contest, he had made over 20 gaffes publicly.
He stated that these gaffes, which have provided online skit makers with comic content, are no longer a laughing matter but a tragic embarrassment to a nation in dire need of salvation.
The statement came against the backdrop of Tinubu’s speech at a rally in Akwa Ibom State, where he said that he made Atiku the Senate President. But Atiku stated that it was on record that he has never contested any legislative election.
“I make bold to say that, apart from his questionable background and records, Tinubu’s endless gaffes and miscues are effects of his failing health. His degenerate mental faculty is a clear and present danger to national security. A man who lacks clear control of his mental faculties cannot lead a nation.
“But this would not be the first time the so-called Lagos godfather would put his ignorance on national display. Some months ago, he said he planned on recruiting 50 million youths into the Nigerian Army in order to solve the unemployment problem. Sadly, those within his circle gave him a standing ovation at the event in Kano rather than correct him.
“Next, he called on Nigerians to go and renew their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) as they would expire ahead of the election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had to swiftly issue a statement after Tinubu’s utterance began causing panic in the polity.
“Tinubu at his Lagos rally asked Nigerians to get their APV in order to vote for APC when even primary school children know that the PVC (Permanent Voter Card) is the only item that admits a voter into a polling unit,” Atiku stated.
The statement noted that if Tinubu were contesting for the position of ‘Grand Comedian of the Federal Republic (GCFR)’, his gaffes would have been appropriately classified as jokes, noting that for the fact that he is running for the most exalted office in the land, the gaffes must not be overlooked.
“Imagine Bola Tinubu with a demeanour similar to that of comedian Klint da Drunk representing Nigeria at the United Nations General Assembly. Let us imagine him making such gaffes at meetings with world leaders. Nigeria would become the butt of jokes across the world.
“Nigerians must note that the Bola Tinubu who served as governor from 1999 to 2007 is different from the Bola Tinubu of today. The Bola Tinubu of today lacks the capacity to lead a nation of 200 million people most of whom are living in abject poverty,” Atiku declared.
He argued that the matter is really not about Tinubu’s age since many leaders across the world are also advanced in age, explaining that it is about his mien, his utterances and faux pas.
“These are things that can no longer be ignored. In a bid to deceive the electorate, Tinubu and his allies have been saying that what Tinubu lacks in physical capacity, he makes up for it in intelligence because presidency of Nigeria is not wrestling but brain work.
“But sadly, it seems Tinubu’s physical strength is actually superior to his mental capacity, going by his numerous embarrassing utterances. Last Christmas, comedian Sabinus, based his entire stage performance on Tinubu’s many gaffes. The audience that gathered were almost rolling on the floor.
“On the surface, this might be funny but when one considers the fact that Tinubu is the candidate of the ruling party, it becomes all the more tragic. Tinubu’s handlers know about his declining mental capacity hence their refusal to let him attend debates or live interviews,” the statement added.
It said that the handlers of Tinubu who are now acting like a cabal believe that if he gets into Aso Rock, he will have the best medical attention while he will delegate important activities of state to them.
“This is also the reason Tinubu has been depending on his surrogates to address important discussions. Even at Chatham House, London, Tinubu could not boldly answer the questions directed at him, preferring to hide under the excuse that he ‘believes in working with an unbreakable team’.
“This is funny since his dictatorial tendency has chased away Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola from his camp.
“However, it must be noted that Aso Rock is neither a sanatorium nor a mental institution. To that extent Nigerians have a right to demand that any aspirant to that office should be in the best state of health,” Atiku maintained.
Tinubu, he maintained does not believe in teamwork, but hiding his deficiencies and mental incapacity, stressing that Nigerians must not allow themselves to be deceived by a person who cannot debate a simple economic policy without begging his handlers to bail him out.