President Muhammadu Buhari has come under attack following the death of First Republic Minister, Mbazulike Amaechi.
It was reported that Amaechi died Tuesday morning at the age of 93.
However, his death has kept tongues wagging owing to the failure of the Federal Government to honour his last wish, which was the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Despite Amaechi’s pleas before his death, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government ruled out a political solution to Kanu’s release.
The nonagenarian, popularly known as The Boy Is Good, had personally told Buhari that Kanu’s release would guarantee peace in the South-East and stabilise the country, an appeal the government did not consider.
However, reacting to his death, President Buhari in his condolence message by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, recalled his encounters with Amaechi in Abuja and Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
He recalled Amaechi’s words: “I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa. Mr President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire.’
The president said the deceased was a man of wisdom, honesty, and frankness.
He said the former minister’s advice on the situation in the Southeast and the way forward would be missed.
Buhari’s eulogy on Amaechi has now attracted more anger, with the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide describing it as “crocodile tears.”
The National President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike said Amaechi’s death was devastating.
According to him, “his death is most devastating because he died with a most unfulfilled wish. No matter how you look at it, he did not die a happy man.
“He begged President Buhari to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to him but Buhari did not oblige him. It isn’t kind to the present administration. This is the last surviving minister of the First Republic, but his wish could not be granted.
“Now the same President is reminding us how Amaechi’s words resonate, how he wished for a peaceful South-East and Nigeria in general. But the same Buhari government made sure that his wish never came to pass.
“So, to us, the entire youths of Igbo land, Buhari’s condolence message is a mockery of Ndigbo; the presidency is smiling over our misfortune, over the loss of an iroko in Igboland.”
Okwu, however, urged the Buhari government to honour the Igbo leader in death by releasing Nnamdi Kanu.
“What they could not do for him while he was alive, they should do now. We expect a posthumous honour for him, which is to free Nnamdi Kanu,” the youth leader said.
Similarly, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro said the news of Amaechi’s demise should touch the heart of the President to respect his last wishes.
“President Buhari has the exceptional opportunity to rewrite history. Buhari’s best tribute to the late elder statesman should be the Presidential pardon and release of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu from custody and we believe that Kanu will honour the bargaining agreement of Mbazulike Amaechi,” Isiguzoro said.
The spokesman of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia had the same message for Buhari.
In a statement made available, he said, “It is regrettable that the last wish Chief Amaechi presented to President Muhammadu Buhari was rebuffed.
“Amaechi made his way to Aso Rock and pleaded that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is released to him on trust. Secondly, Amaechi, on hearing that Buhari was to visit Ebonyi State, earlier this year, in spite of his old age, reactivated his combative paws and reflexes to meet Mr President.
“At Abakaliki, Chief Amaechi in an uncommon oratorical skill spoke pointedly but passionately to President Buhari on why Nnamdi Kanu should be released to him.
“Furthermore, Amaechi’s voice waxed eloquent to the universal advocacy that it is the turn of the South East to produce a president in Nigeria.”
The stand of Ohanaeze is not different from another South-East group, Voice from the East, led by Comrade Kindness Jonah.
On his part, it would be difficult for the people of the region to forget the agony with which Amaechi passed on.
“This is the last surviving minister of the First Republic yet the country he passionately served could not grant his wish till he died. It is quite despicable; Buhari should not deceive Ndigbo with his condolence message, he should keep it to himself,” Jonah said.
Their stand is not different from that of the President of Cultural Credibility and Development Initiative (CCDI), Chief Goddy Uwazurike who lamented that President Muhammadu Buhari failed to fulfil a promise he made to a delegation of Eminent Igbo Leaders led by late Amaechi over Nnamdi Kanu.
“The most recent assignment he undertook was to lead a delegation of the highly respected Eminent Igbo Leaders to visit President Muhamadu Buhari to plead for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. The delegation comprised me, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Bishop Onuoha.
“Chief Mbazulike Amechi stated firmly that God blessed him with a long life and President Muhamadu Buhari with a second term to bring peace to Nigeria.
“President Muhamadu Buhari promised to give a positive answer because he would not say no to the delegation on account of the age of Chief Mbazulike Amechi. Sadly, this promise was not kept.
“We are in mourning because a highly respected Eminent Igbo leader has departed without hearing from President Muhamadu Buhari that he has released Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,” Uwazurike, a senior lawyer and former president of Igbo think tank, Aka Ikenga stated.
A senior journalist, Mr Sunny Igboanugo was not left out.
He wrote in a tribute: “Good night! Buhari denied him his last wish – to see Nnamdi Kanu a free man. He said it was for the courts to decide!
“The courts decided by freeing MNK and the same Buhari who wouldn’t interfere with the courts refused to obey the same court. With a broken heart, he died! History!
“Adieu, Mbazuluike Amaechi! Adieu, The Boy Is Good!! Adieu, The Last of the Titans!”