The release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, from the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, may affect the chances of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi to win the 2023 election.
The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous verdict on Thursday, acquitted Nnamdi Kanu of all terrorism charges levelled against him.
The secessionist was thereby discharged from the custody of the DSS in the Federal Capital Territory.
Kanu, leader of the group agitating for the actualization of Biafra as a sovereign nation, was re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria on June 28, 2021, to continue his trial bothering on treasonable felony.
Since his alleged unlawful repatriation to the country, the IPOB leader, who was accused of making utterances capable of threatening the corporate existence of the country while in the United Kingdom, had been in the custody of the Nigerian secret police amid several court cases.
The news of his release yesterday plunged several Nigerians, particularly residents of the South-East, into celebration.
While reaction continues to trail the release, some stakeholders have predicted how Kanu’s freedom could affect the chances of the former Anambra State Governor to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Prior to his arrest, Nnamdi Kanu, who is a major opinion leader in the South East, had ruled out the possibility of the Nigerian government conducting elections in the region.
Some political analysts had hitherto revealed that the Labour Party relies more on the South-East for Peter Obi’s victory come 2023.
Although the IPOB leader is yet to speak since he was freed, a Public Affairs Analyst, Mr Kenneth Onuh, told DAILY POST on Thursday that Kanu’s release would affect Peter Obi’s presidential bid negatively.
According to him, Igbos would now continue their agitation for a possible break up from Nigeria, stressing that they may no longer be interested in the Igbo presidency or any form of election.
He said, “The attention of the whole Ndigbo has been shifted from Peter Obi. They are now following their master, Kanu, so Peter Obi and other presidential candidates who were relying on the South-East may have to look for alternatives.
“Before he was detained, he clearly told everyone that the election would not hold in Igbo land. He is back, and agitation continues. This is going to affect Peter Obi more than other candidates”.
Recall that IPOB, while reacting to the release of their leader, told Daily Post yesterday that the realization of the Biafra nation would be their next target, stressing that nothing can stop the movement.
In a chat with our correspondent, the IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, said, “Biafrans both home and abroad, including our friends, should rejoice because Almighty Chukwu Okike Abiama has done it again.
“Biafra realisation is the next target, and nothing will stop IPOB from achieving Biafra freedom.
“If you know you are a criminal terrorising our people, just run because you are going to meet your waterloo.”
However, when contacted, the President-General of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Mr Goodluck Ibem, countered Onuh, saying Kanu’s release would favour the Labour Party candidate.
“We are happy that he has been released. The release of Mazi cannot affect Peter Obi’s negativity, it will rather add colour to what is already happening”, he said.
Asked if there was the possibility of Kanu asking the Igbos, particularly youths, to boycott the Igbo presidency, Mr Ibem said, “I can’t read his mind to know if he would say so, but all I know is that we are happy that he has been released and we are ready to vote.”
Similarly, a Labour Party member in Abuja, who identified himself simply as Mr IK, said the release of Knau would force many Igbos to change their negative perception of Nigeria.
He said, “I don’t see Kanu’s release as a threat to Peter Obi. The truth is that many people who didn’t plan to vote before due to what the government was doing to Kanu may now have a change of plan.
“Before now, they don’t believe in the judiciary, not to talk of the government itself but what happened today has made many people change their thoughts.”