Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari, without mincing words ruled out the possibility of releasing the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on grounds of mercy.
Kanu is currently facing trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja, for treasonable felony charges.
We also picked two other stories from the Aso Rock Villa that generated wide conversations in the polity.
1, No prerogative of mercy Kanu
On January 5, President Buhari, while speaking in an interview broadcast on Channels Television, said, among others: “Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary, let him be listened to. But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him.”
Buhari’s outright rejection of Kanu’s release is sure to heighten the growing tension in the South-East region. His unapologetic stand appears to raise doubts on whether the Nigerian state would allow the IPOB leader’s case to rest only at the lower courts.
It would seem, therefore, that Mr President was merely sounding politically correct when he promised Igbo leaders who visited him November last year that he would consider his release.
All said, the road to freedom seems very tough, and rough for Kanu. And, it behoves South-East leaders to further play the right politics and push for prerogative of mercies without which Kanu May rot in jail if found guilty.
Two other talking points
2, Who pressured Buhari to run?
President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on January 7, declared that he (Buhari) was persuaded and pressured by Nigerians to run for President.
Shehu’s declaration came as a reaction to Buhari’s submission that he has done his best for Nigerians.
“They need to understand how he was persuaded and pressured to even run in the first instance. He had served as governor, minister and military Head of State and that’s the highest it could get. He had retired home and Nigerians came and said you are the right person for this moment, we need you. It took some persuasion,” the President’s media aide said, among others, while speaking on Channels TV.
Shehu’s disclosure is doubtable, and somewhat offensive to the sensibilities of many Nigerians. Buhari, as known by all political watchers, fought hard for 12 years, walking through a thorny, and tiring path before his dream of being an occupant of the Aso Rock Villa materialised.
Having serially lost out in the presidential race in 2003, 2007, and 2011, he contested the electoral results in court. This was amidst the electoral violence that trailed his loss in 2011. It only took the alliance of most opposition parties that teamed up to form the APC for him to win in 2015.
Though Shehu is doing his work as Buhari’s spin-doctor, the place of exaggerating issues in order to paint a favourable image for his principal should be a matter for appropriate fact-checks.
3, Osinbajo’s unity spirit
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on January 8, stated that differences ethnicity or religion could not separate Nigeria.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the palace of Emir of Katagum, Umar Farouk, in Bauchi State, Osinbajo said: “This is one occasion where you will find that our country is truly a united country and that nothing can separate this country, not ethnicity or religion or class. There is nothing that can separate this country. In fact, this is excellent evidence of the fact that this country is united.”
Lately, Osinbajo has been preaching the message of hope, and restoration for the country. This is due to national challenges that have stalled development in varied sectors, and heaped infamy on the Buhari-led administration.
The Vice President must admit that words alone cannot cement the fragile unity that is now existent among the Nigerian people. Also, he must take a part of the blame for the Presidency’s mismanagement of the Nigeria’s diversity.
Osinbajo, therefore, must ensure that he walks beyond the realm of talks, and inspire actions that would cement his unity talk. Otherwise, he might be stunned to see how diverse ethnicity, and religiosity can further enlarge the existing national gulf among Nigerians.
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