A former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, has said that the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has proved that it is not a terrorist organisation, for it to have cancelled its earlier sit-at-home order that could have disrupted the Anambra governorship election.
Mr Okupe, who stated this in a Facebook post on Friday, described IPOB’s action as “heartwarming” and said “it is now time for the federal government to open a window of opportunity for peaceful negotiation with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB”.
“This decision of IPOB is a very reasonable one, coming from an organisation whose major concern is justice, equity and self-determination for its people.
“By this singular act of compassionate and progressive civility, in furtherance of our Democracy, IPOB, to my mind has proved unequivocally that it is not a terrorist organisation rather it is one that can be called to a round table to reason with,” Mr Okupe said.
Mr Okupe said peace talks and negotiations can resolve in weeks what violence, war and its attendant bloodshed may not achieve in several years.
He called on Nigerians to persuade the government to open talks with IPOB.
“May God help and guide our leaders to lead us aright in Jesus Name,” he said.
The agitation for Biafra, championed by IPOB, has led to several killings and destruction in Nigeria’s South-east region.
Facilities belonging to the police, Independent National Electoral Commission, and other public institutions have been attacked and set ablaze by gunmen suspected to be IPOB members.
IPOB, which had used force to enforce its earlier sit-at home protests in the South-east, had declared the sit-at-home in Anambra to discourage residents from taking part in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra.
The sit-at-home, which had been condemned by political leaders in the South-east, was meant to commence on Friday, a day to the election.
IPOB’s spokesperson, Emma Powerful, said the group decided to cancel the sit-at-home order because of “the genuine intervention of our elders, esteemed traditional Institutions /Rulers and Religious Leaders”.
The IPOB’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu is in detention in Abuja where he is standing trial for alleged treason.