By Uzo Ugwunze
Anambra Elders and Stakeholders Forum has described yesterday’s death of Chief Mbazulike Amechi, first republic Aviation Minister as a very big devastating blow to the entire Igbo race in particular and the country at large.
Amechi, popularly called The Boy is Good, a native of Ukpor in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra state, according to his Personal Assistant, PA on Media and Publicity, Motimor Mojekwu, died early Tuesday morning at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra state, after a brief illness at the age of 93.
In a reaction, National President of the forum, Justice Anthony Iguh and Vice Chairman National Advisory Council of the forum, Justice Godwin Ononiba in a press statement signed on their behalf by its National Coordinator, Justice Alpha Ikpeama, said Mbazulike died of agony occasioned by the federal government’s refusal to release the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, Nnamdi Kanu, as he requested.
Describing Mbazulike as a political grandfather of Igbo nation, Justice Iguh, former Justice of the Supreme Court and former Chief Judge of Old and New Anambra state, and Justice Ononiba, also a one-time Chief Judge of Anambra state, regretted that after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in office and begging him to grant Kanu a political pardon and release him to Igbo elders while he was still alive, Buhari and Malami disrespected him and kept Kanu in custody, even against court orders till he died in penury yesterday.
The forum warned that Nigeria would continue to dangle until Kanu is released, adding, “we mourn The Boy is Good from the depth of our hearts”.
Also, another group, Igbo Movement for National Agenda, IMNA, a group of Igbo intellectuals and professionals has called on the federal government to use the opportunity of Amechi”s death to release Kanu and at the same time, give Amechi a national burial.
IMNA insisted that releasing Kanu at this point in time is more important to Ndigbo than the on-going second Niger Bridge project because Kanu is the soul of Ndigbo..
The Movement also insisted that although the second Niger bridge project is an important project, Ndigbo are in agony and Nigeria is meaningless when Kanu is still in custody after the Igbo elders, led by Amechi, the United Nations, UN and the courts have spoken in favour of his release and against his continued detention.
National Coordinator of the Movement, Justice Alpha Ikpeama who stated this in Onitsha, Anambra state yesterday while reacting to last Wednesday’s judgment of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, which ordered the federal government to return Kanu to Kenya and pay him N500 million as damages, releasing Kanu would equally stop weekly Mondays sit-at-home which has almost destroyed economic activities of Ndigbo.
“We want Kanu first before the second Niger Bridge because Kanu is the heart of Ndigbo. Right now, Ndigbo is in agony. Nigeria is meaningless when Kanu is still in custody, after the Igbo elders, UN and courts have spoken”.
Also, Idemili Leaders of Thought, a group of stakeholders in Idemili North and Idemili South Local Government Areas of Anambra state, yesterday joined others in mourning the demise of Amechi.
Chairman of the group, Dr. Boniface Agbala in a statement, said it would be very difficult to fill the vacuum created by the demise of Amechi and urged Ndigbo to bear the loss with fortitude.