Nnamdi Kanu , leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), says he has been vindicated by claims by the All Progressives Congress, APC, that the Presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar is not a Nigerian but a Cameroonian.
Kanu, who addressed his members through his broadcast on Radio Biafra, Kanu said, “The headline ‘Atiku Is Not a Nigerian, APC Tells Tribunal’ is vindication that everything I say on Radio Biafra is the truth. It may appear outlandish and unbelievable at first, but eventually history always vindicates me.
“As everyone can see very clearly, it is unambiguously stated that for you to become the president of Nigeria, you must be born a Nigerian. Simply put, your birth certificate or any official notation must say clearly that you are a Nigerian. As at the time Atiku was born, his citizenship on his birth certificate read Cameroonian”.
Kanu said the 1999 Constitution as amended was clearly defective because those who crafted it were neither philosophers, social scientists, thinkers nor constitutional experts.
He argued that the argument by some people that if Atiku was a Cameroonian, he could not have been the Comptroller of Customs and Vice President would not hold water as Section 131(a) of the Constitution was clear on who should be the president of the country.
“The incontrovertible truth is that His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President of Nigeria for eight years, became a Nigerian by virtue of the referendum of the 11th of February 1961. He was not born a Nigerian and as such he became a Nigerian as a result of the British organised plebiscite held in British Cameroons to give the people of Adamawa, where Atiku comes from, the opportunity to choose where they would like to belong.
“When I first raised this issue, which incidentally has been ignored by all arms of government, including INEC whose duty it is to ensure that candidates meet all stipulated constitutional requirements, it was not to insinuate or imply that Atiku is not a Nigerian, but rather to highlight the very constitutionally critical point at the heart of IPOB agitation for Biafra independence; which is that asking for a referendum is never a crime in any law known to man.
“Therefore, if Adamawa people can be allowed to freely choose where they wish to belong, then justice and equity dictates that we the people of Biafra must be allowed to do the same. This is the point that is lost on Justice Binta Nyako and numerous other semi-literate judges handling IPOB cases today in Nigerian courts,” he said.
Kanu lashed out at Atiku’s defence team over what he described as their weak and porous argument that if Atiku was not a Nigerian, he would not have become Nigeria’s vice-president, lived, invested and paid tax in the country for years as a citizen, saying that by virtue of relevant section of Nigeria, anybody born in Adamawa between 1946 when Atiku was born to 1960, was not qualified to contest election as president of Nigeria.
He said this was a wholly unnecessary digression that failed to address the constitutional question of place of birth as key qualification for anybody seeking to become the president of Nigeria, arguing that Atiku was the Vice President was not the issue at hand, but rather his suitability as defined by the constitution of Nigeria.
“With this ridiculous born in Nigeria requirement, nobody born in the present day Adamawa before 1961 or those of us born in Biafra from 1967 to 1970 can ever vie for the office of the president of Nigeria.
“Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, now Adamawa State, then in Northern Cameroon, was a citizen of Cameroon but now a Nigerian by plebiscite. This information has always been in the public domain. What I did was just to flag it. The only part that can be said that I pioneered is that Atiku became a Nigerian citizen by the sheer force of Referendum which is what I want for Biafra. I wanted to prove to some ignorant Nigerians and their quack judges that asking for a referendum is not treasonable felony,” the IPOB leader said as reported by The Nation.