Enugu State-born legal practitioner, who was the counsel to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, reveals why he dumped his case.
Nnamdi Kanu during a court appearance in Abuja
In an exclusive interview with The Sun in Enugu, legal practitioner, social crusader and public affairs analyst, Vincent Egechukwu Obetta, who was the counsel to incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has revealed why he abandoned his now-famous client half way.
Below are excerpts from the chat;
From the beginning of Nnamdi Kanu’s trial, you represented him. At what point did you withdraw from the matter?
I withdrew on January 29, 2016 after the court proceeding of that day. It was a withdrawal that is based on principle. The withdrawal was widely publicized in the sense that I addressed the press to the effect that my and I team have withdrawn. Putting up defence for Kanu was one of the toughest criminal trials in my legal career; I was contending with the teeming and impatient members of the IPOB, the Nigeria security apparatus, the surging inquiries from the media, home and abroad, foreign missions as well as the demand of casting good appearance on his behalf.
Shortly after your withdrawal, there was a publication from one of the IPOB Coordinators alleging that you engaged in unprofessional conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner.
I read it. Initially I felt betrayed, humiliated, furious and cold. I was beclouded by a sense of disillusion –in the sense that it was not worth it to have put in my best in the matter, after all. To me, it was libelous especially to a professional like me. I threatened a reprisal. Thanks to well-meaning Igbo sons and daughters who spoke to me. And when I reviewed the actions/attitude of the so-called coordinators of IPOB, I realized that nobody has ever passed their integrity test.
It has become a case study to behold a situation where every well- meaning and reputable Igbo sons or daughters who have a relationship with Nigerians of other tribes is branded a traitor; and once you hold a contrary view, you are branded a bastard. The entire South-East- governors, Ministers from the South-East are thieves, first class traditional rulers and respected Igbo elders are dead woods. When I found out that respected and prominent Igbo like Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, chief Debe Ojukwu, Chief Dozie Ikedife etc. have, at one time or the other, been derided and slandered, then I took solace and said to myself who am I? And the answer is to maintain absolute silence in response to that publication
Do you keep tabs on Nnamdi Kanu’s trial proceedings and how far it has gone so far?
The information about his trial is in the public domain, both on electronic and print media. As to how far it’s gone, I make bold to say that since December 17, 2015 when I secured a landmark ‘unconditional bail’ for him, nothing tangible has been recorded. But like I said earlier, the facts are there for all to see. During our stewardship, we brought professionalism into the matter, advanced our cause without descending into the arena of conflict, secured the sympathy of both local and international press and the support of teeming Nigerians while we called the shot. The sentiment and support the matter received cut across ethnic affiliation. It was indeed an interesting but challenging experience that exposed me a lot.
Be that as it may, I am calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to comply with the order of the Federal High Court by Justice Ademola and release Mazi Nnamdi kanu unconditionally. His continued detention has cast a dent on the President’s avowed claim to be a repented democrat.
Click here to read the full interview on The Sun.