The Presidency yesterday explained why the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was not part of the ongoing consultations with leaders of the Southeast.
The main reason for his absence is that he was not considered as a leader of thought in the Southeast region.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo last week started series of conversation meetings with leaders of thought, politicians, traditional rulers and the clergy over rising ethnic tensions in parts of the country.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator BabafemiOjudu, said the IPOB leader was not invited because the Presidency does not regard him as a leader of thought in the Southeast.
According to him, a window of possibility would be opened for Kanu to meet with the Federal Government for discussion should the need arise in the future.
He said: “Well, the thing is that we were looking for leaders of the people, leaders of thought and we do not see him as a leader of thought in the East.
“May be opportunity will come at one time or the other for him to be engaged.
“But so far, what we have done is to look at people who have influence in the communities, whether it is religious, whether it is traditional, whether it is political, social or governance. These are the people we brought in for discussion.” he added
He added that the South leaders, including Ohanaez Ndigbo,who came to see Osinbajo have neither asked for a referendum on Biafra or secession, Ojudu said they have only complained about marginalisation in appointments and harassment by police at road blocks.
The special adviser assured that their concerns were issues that could easily be addressed.
He said: “Nobody has tabled that in all the discussions we have had. Nobody, I can tell you. Ohanaeze came with a prepared document. They never talked about referendum. They never. They never even talked about secession.
“They made complaints about police harassment at road blocks. They made complaints about losing some key positions, not being appointed into security positions and all those kinds of things.
“And these are things that can easily be addressed. Nobody canvassed secession at those meetings, nobody canvassed referendum.”
Ojudunoted that the Southeast leaders that have met with the Acting President were in support of one united, peaceful Nigeria.
He said the Federal Government would tackle the perceived injustice in parts of the country through equitable distribution of resources and employment creation.
He added: “So, for us, and that was the conclusion that everybody came to in the consultations we have had that we should all agree that we can live together peacefully.
“We should address injustice where we find it and the government should be equitable in the distribution of resources across the country and then, find solution to youth unemployment and the frustration that is confronting most of the young people across this country.”