Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to negotiate with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in a bid to curb the secessionist agitations instead of the deployment of soldiers in the South-East.
Speaking during an interview with Newsweek Magazine, Obasanjo – who served as Nigeria’s first elected head of state from 1999 to 2007 -said:
“I don’t see anything wrong in that (Buhari meeting with Kanu). I would not object to that; if anything, I would encourage it.
“I would want to meet Kanu myself and talk to people like him, people of his age, (and ask) ‘What are your worries?’ Not only from the South-East but from all parts of Nigeria.”
Obasanjo, who led the final offensive that brought the civil war to an end in 1970, said that the army’s “heavy boot” response to pro-Biafra sentiment is “not the solution,” but added that the secession craved by IPOB is not the way forward either.
He said, “Those who fought in the war in Biafra will not want to fight any other war. I fought in that war and it was an unfortunate war and I said I had fought one war too many in Nigeria; I don’t want to see another.
“The heavy boot is not the solution. I believe also whatever may be the frustration of any youth in any part of Nigeria; I believe secession is not the solution.”
“We need to satisfy the youth in job creation, in wealth creation, in giving them a better, fulfilled life, in giving them hope for the future. There’s no easy way out.”