Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, has said he would dialogue with themembers of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples ofBiafra (IPOB) and other agitators to restore peace in the country if elected president come February 25, 2023.
Obi, a former governor of Anambra State stated this while responding to questions on insecurity in thecountry at the corporate headquarters of the Media Trust Group (MTG), owners of Daily Trust titles and Trust TV in Abuja. IPOB is a separatist organisation in Nigeria, which claims that its main aim is to restore an independent state of Biafra in the old Eastern Region of the country, comprising mainly today’s South-East and South-South regions.
The group had been accused of killing security operatives, politicians, traditional rulers and ordinary citizens. Its members were also fingered in thedestruction of symbols of authority like policestations and INEC offices, among others.
My approach will be different’
While answering questions after his visit to Media Trust, Obi said, “I have said it times without number, Nigeria does not have more agitation than Brazil, if you want I will show you countries that have had agitations in the past, whether it is Brazil, Mexico, whether it is this.
“In our South East, it is a simple thing, I will dialogue, I will discuss, it is a democracy, and in a democracy, you govern by consensus. If anybody says he is not happy, you call him and you sit him down and discuss with him.
People agitate in my house, my wife, my children. If you say to me you have lived with your wife all through and you people have never quarrelled, then you are not married. You disagree and settle it – that is agitation.”
“I will govern by listening to the people. I will visit every state in Nigeria. We have a huge land in theNorth that if properly invested and cultivated, will change Nigeria. The more I pull people out of poverty, the more I reduce agitation, the more I reduce criminality. What you are seeing in Nigeria today is a cumulative effect of leadership failure over the years and all I want to do is to be seen to be that man who changed this country called Nigeria,” he said.
Asked whether he shares the federal government’s position in designating IPOB as a terrorist organisation, he said, “I don’t want to go into that place. I have told you, I will dialogue with anybody, anything they like let them call you, I will meet and we discuss.
I am going to meet people in the North, I am going to meet people everywhere and say come, let’s be a family. I want Nigerians to be proud that they are Nigerians. What we have now is we have a country called Nigeria but we don’t have Nigerians. I want to bring back Nigerians.”
“I am contesting as a Nigerian, I don’t want people to vote for me because I am an Igbo man or because I am from South East because people don’t buy bread cheaper because they are from that zone.
“I don’t want anybody to vote for me because I am a Christian; I don’t want them to vote because it is my turn, it is not inheritance. It is the turn of Nigerians to take back their country. I want them to vote for me because of character and competence, I have thecapacity, I have the commitment, I am qualified,” he said.