Valentine Ozigbo, the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 6, 2021 election, has called for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, an activist and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), from detention even as he called for a different approach in addressing the agitations for self-determination in the country.
Mr. Ozigbo, a respected business leader, made the call when he spoke at the 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Debate hosted on Anambra Broadcasting Television, ABS, Awka on Sunday, October 17, 2021.
Ozigbo was the only candidate of a major political party who attended the hour-long event, which had in attendance only four of the eighteen candidates who would be on the ballot in November.
Noticeably absent from the ABS studios were Professor Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC). None of these men has attended any manifesto presentation or debate since the campaigns begun in August.
When asked about his position on the incarcerated IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Ozigbo said that Nnamdi Kanu should be released by the APC government and non-violent and diplomatic means of addressing the calls for secession should be adopted.
“Indeed, Nnamdi Kanu should actually be released while we go back to the root cause for the agitation,” Ozigbo boldly said.
“I always focus on the root causes of problem-solving. We can’t be addressing a problem from the symptoms. An efficient way to address any crisis is to deal with the root.
“Why the agitations? If you think deeply, you’ll understand that it is because Nigeria is not working. Our leaders have failed us. The sense of hopelessness brought about by poor governance pervades the land.
“There’s a lot we need to do to get Nigeria working again. The poor road networks, decayed infrastructure, failed social systems, a devastating healthcare sector, a shrinking economy, lack of opportunities, and many more manifestations of poor governance leads to the question of ‘Is there any need to be part of Nigeria, anyway?’
As a way out of the current crisis, Ozigbo called for a fresh approach to leadership. He said that Nigeria must focus on raising the competitiveness of the country, among other solutions. “We must do away with nepotism and entrench competency.
“We must restructure Nigeria to be more just, more competitive, and more inclusive,” Ozigbo demanded.
A nationally recognised peace advocate, Ozigbo has in the past called for the protection of the human rights of the Igbos, correction of the economic injustices in the country, and “a stop to the dehumanisation of Igbos, and all people for that matter”.
The multiple-award-winning global CEO also presented details of his Ka Anambra Chawapu Manifesto at the live event, which was anchored by Roy Ekwunife, a TV presenter and Nollywood actor.
A favourite tipped to win the November election, Ozigbo unveiled his revolutionary ideas for transforming the state in education, healthcare, economy, social services, and other key human development indices.
The other candidates who attended the event are Col. Geoffrey Onyejegbu (Rtd), the candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Dr Chidozie Nwankwo of the African Action Congress (AAC), and Chief Akachukwu Nwamkpo of African Democratic Congress (ADC).