Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has urged the Nigerian government to listen to the voice of the Biafra agitators which incessantly calls for a referendum.
In a recent interview published by the Punch, he stated that the agitation will only get stronger and Nigeria may face a violent break up if FG fails to listen to their demands.
“Nnamdi Kanu is a man I have immense admiration and respect for. I’ve worked with many leaders in the country; he’s (Kanu) one of the most profound, courageous people I have ever interacted with. I believe he is Ojukwu, Nzeogwu and Azikiwe all rolled into one. He has immense intellectual stamina. Whatever you think about him, he reflects the thinking of over 80 per cent of Igbo youths today – that’s the reality that you have to live with. It’s not a question of whether you and I like him or not.
“It’s a question of understanding where he’s coming from and try to accept the fact that what he represents we cannot wish away or dismiss; it’s a reality. You cannot kill them all; you cannot suppress them. You have to work with them; you have to talk to them; you have to understand them; and you have to pacify and negotiate with them. If you say you want to crush them, dehumanise them, suppress them, Kill them and think that the agitation will go, you’re making a monumental mistake.
“My view is this: every human being has a right to make his or her self-determination and it’s not for me to impose my views on them. If they say they want to go, I am bound by equity and justice to say OK provided that’s what the majority of their people want. Then, I support their right to go. So, what I’m pushing for, what I believe should happen is for the Igbo to have a referendum. Let’s put it to the test; let them have a referendum. That’s what they’re asking for; give it to them. And, once that referendum is determined and if they don’t want to be part of Nigeria, let them go.
“If they say they don’t want to, let them stay within a restructured Nigeria. But, let me tell you this, and this is the bottom line, if you continue to deny them that right of having a referendum, or even entertaining the right of secession and exercising the right to self-determination because they are fed up with what they’ve been subjected to in Nigeria for the last 57 years, the agitation will get stronger and stronger.
As a matter of fact, it’s not just the Igbo; the Niger Delta feel the same way, the South-West feel the same way and many within the Middle Belt feel the same way. This agitation will continue to grow throughout the country unless the restructuring takes place. If you insist there’ll be no restructuring, I assure you this country will break up at the soonest – and, it could be a very messy break-up indeed.