“The IPOB issue in the South-East, as far as I am concerned, is about the realisation of Biafra. Is it possible for Biafra to be realised today?”
Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s flagbearer for 2023, says he will negotiate with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) if elected president.
Mr Abubakar, 76, is contesting the 2023 presidential election against Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and a host of other candidates.
IPOB is designated a terrorist organisation, but Mr Abubakar expressed willingness to negotiate with the proscribed Igbo group.
“We are in a democratic society. There is no one geopolitical zone that can, on its own, achieve political power without crossing the Niger or being in alliance with other geopolitical zones,” the former vice president explained.
He added, “I think this is what they should begin to think. OK, how do they partner other parts of the country to secure political power to protect their interests? I think these are the way to go as far as the agitation for IPOB is concerned.”
Mr Abubakar, a former vice president between 1999 and 2007, while appearing on Channels TV’s presidential town hall series on Sunday night, urged Biafran agitators to form an alliance with other regions to secure political power, promising to restructure the country, devolve power and resources to regions to address agitations.
“The IPOB issue in the South-East, as far as I am concerned, is about the realisation of Biafra. Is it possible for Biafra to be realised today? How? By negotiations or by going through another civil war which we cannot afford to?” said the PDP presidential standard-bearer.
Mr Abubakar explained that “we should be able to negotiate with the agitators from the South-East as far as the issue of Biafra is concerned.”
South-East Nigeria has been rocked by violent attacks attributed to IPOB agitating for a sovereign Biafra.
The abduction of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, from Kenya to Nigeria, by President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime, sparked an upsurge in violent attacks by so-called unknown gunmen who target security agents and government-owned facilities, disrupting commercial activities in the South-East.