FORMER Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Professor Charles Soludo has added further spice to the ongoing Anambra State gubernatorial elections by claiming that he was one of the prominent Igbo leaders who facilitated the release of Nnamdi Kanu in 2017.
Anambrans go to the polls to elect a new governor on November 6 and Professor Soludo, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (Apga) candidates appears to be the frontrunner. Over the last week, the presence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) has loomed over the elections, with several of the candidates falling over themselves to cash in on the secessionist group’s popularity.
Ipob leader Nnamdi Kanu, was originally arrested in October 2015 and after spending two years in detention, he was granted bail on medical grounds in 2017. Claiming credit for helping to secure Mr Kanu’s release, Professor Soludo said he and a few other prominent Igbo indigenes facilitated the release in 2017.
According to Professor Soludo, he led 12 prominent Igbos to Abuja to please for the release of Mr Kanu in 2017. Speaking at a political rally at Atani in Ogbaru Local Government Area, he added that he would continue to protect the interest of Igbos in all their endeavours and incorporate them in his administration, especially in making public policies.
Professor Soludo said: “Let me remind us that I have been championing the cause of Igbos. In 2017, when Nnamdi Kanu was refused bail, I led 12-prominent personalities from Igboland to Kuje Prison, where we facilitated his release.
“I was the one that addressed journalists after the visit and a few days later, he was released. By that time, I did not know him.”
According to Professor Soludo, he was recalling the incident because there was a need to form a formidable force that will negotiate the progress and status of Igbos in Nigeria. He said his party was striving for high speed development and the provision of basic infrastructure, emphasising that Apga under the leadership under incumbent Governor Willie Obiano had touched every sector.
Professor Soludo added: “We need a platform, where Igbos will be in the forefront and not at the rear, and Apga is the platform. The welfare of the southeast can be achieved through proper dialogue and negotiation and not by arms struggle and destruction of life and property.”
Furthermore, Professor Soludo promised to deploy his professionalism and political expertise in providing for the needs of the people, stressing that his urban renewal programme would commence simultaneously in the state. He did not mention, however, whether he would try and get the federal government to drop its treason charges against Mr Kanu.
Mr Kanu is currently back in detention awaiting trial after being abducted by security forces in Kenya and flown back to Nigeria. He had been on the run for four years but Nigerian security operatives eventually tracked him down and he remains the most popular person in the southeast as his trial is seen as the persecution of Ndigbo.