By Tony Adibe
The pioneer Aviation Minister of Nigeria and prominent member of the defunct Zikist Movement, Chief Mbazulike-Amaechi has died. He died Tuesday morning at his Ukpor country hometown in Anambra State, aged 93.
NewsBits recalls that Mbazulike-Amaechi, who was fondly called “The Boy is Good” reportedly lost his wife sometime last year.
NewsBits also recalls that Chief Amaechi was the Nigerian who accommodated the late South African freedom fighter and first African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela at his house on the Victoria Island, Lagos when the defunct Apartheid government wanted to kill him.
“On several occasions, I travelled from Lagos to my village in Ukpor, with Nelson Mandela. And my mother would have the pleasure of preparing our local delicacies for Mandela and I to eat.
“In fact, it was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe that arranged for Mandela to live with me during his period of exile in Nigeria, because the then South Africa Apartheid government wanted to assassinate him. That was how Mandela fled his country,” Chief Amaechi had told this reporter during an interview with him at Ukpor.
A statement said the politician recently led a delegation of prominent Igbo leaders to Aso Rock where he made a case for the release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Amaechi had said repeatedly that Kanu’s release would end the spate of insecurity in the Southeast zone.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (left), Nigeria’s current president, Muhammadu Buhari and the late former Aviation Minister
He was of the view that most criminals claiming to be agitating for Kanu and Biafra would go into hiding if the IPOB leader is released. The statesman, while alive, had insisted: “There is only one key to the solution to killings in Igbo land now, and that is the release of Nnamdi Kanu.”
The nonagenarian had during the visit to President Buhari in Abuja in November last year, described the situation in the Southeast as “painful and pathetic,” and bemoaned the fact that “businesses have collapsed, education is crumbling, and there is fear everywhere.”
He pleaded for a political, rather than military solution, requesting that if Kanu was released to him as the only First Republic Minister still alive, “he would no longer say the things he had been saying.”
He stressed that he could control him, “not because I have anything to do with them (IPOB), but I am highly respected in Igbo land today.”
Chief Amaechi said twice he had interfaced with Nnamdi Kanu in the past, and the latter rescinded orders earlier given on civil disobedience.
He concluded: “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.”