The presidency has said it does not consider Nnamdi Kanu, arrowhead of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), as a leader of thought in the south-east region.
Yesterday,Babafemi Ojudu, special adviser to the president on political matters, gave this as the reason why Kanu was left out of the ongoing consultations of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo with leaders of the south-east.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo last week started series of conversation meetings with leaders of thought, politicians, traditional rulers and the clergy over rising ethnic tensions in parts of the country.
“Well, the thing is that we were looking for leaders of the people, leaders of thought and we do not see him as a leader of thought in the east. May be opportunity will come at one time or the other for him to be engaged,” Ojodu said on Sunday.
“But so far, what we have done is to look at people who have influence in the communities, whether it is religious, whether it is traditional, whether it is political, social or governance. These are the people we brought in for discussion.”
Ojudu said the agitation for secession and calls for referendum being championed by IPOB were not up for discussions during the meeting.
“Nobody has tabled that in all the discussions we have had. Nobody, I can tell you. Ohanaeze came with a prepared document. They never talked about referendum. They never. They never even talked about secession,” he said.
“They made complaints about police harassment at road blocks. They made complaints about losing some key positions, not being appointed into security positions and all those kinds of things.
“And these are things that can easily be addressed. Nobody canvassed secession at those meetings, nobody canvassed referendum.”
The presidential aide further noted that the south-east leaders were in agreement with the federal government that Nigeria should remain as one.
He said the government will work towards addressing the problem of youth unemployment and frustration across the country.
“So, for us, and that was the conclusion that everybody came to in the consultations we have had that we should all agree that we can live together peacefully.
“We should address injustice where we find it and the government should be equitable in the distribution of resources across the country snd then, find solution to youth unemployment and the frustration that is confronting most of the young people across this country.”