Nigeria is once more stampeded with so much hysteric hype about the Nnamdi Kanu-led Biafran separatist sect - the Indigenous Peoples of Biafran (IPOB). The granting of bail to Kanu last month appeared to have buoyed the pro-Biafran agitators who have issued fresh sit-at-home order to all Southeasterners on May 30.
Of course, if they had not done it, one would have been surprised at the sudden change of disposition. Barefaced bravado, naked intimidation and violent affront of law abiding citizens into coercive submission and gruesome murders are the hallmark of the Kanu-IPOB. A leopard does not change its skin.
Whether Biafra died with Ojukwu, the Biafran warlord is irrelevant at the moment. What is however germane is the failure of some Southeasterners to spot and avoid the pit of destruction being consciously dug for them by a few unscrupulous elements in the region, ostensibly for exclusive personal gains.
It is glaring that the pro-Biafran agitator, Nnamdi Kanu has lost touch with the reality in Nigeria, his country of birth from where he migrated to London. Many years of sojourn in London has blurred his sense to the existential reality of his Igbo ethnic group in Southeastern Nigeria.
That is the sad commentary about Nigerians. Residing in a foreign country and undergoing studies would have thought Kanu some decency and how to respect the feelings of others. But what he understands and has brought back to Nigeria is brute force and the language of violence. Nnamdi Kanu has forgotten that his aristocratic lifestyle as Prince and later, as a British citizen does not transform into knowledge of the socio-cultural complexities of the Nigerian state.
By his actions, anybody can bet that Kanu does not believe in his own aspiration. So, he feels unlawfully attacking and challenging the supremacy of the state would give him international publicity around the world. He may have succeeded in achieving it, but what is impossible for him and his clan of rogues camouflaging as pro-Biafran agitators is to obviate the inviolable fact that majority of their kith and kin regard them as outlaws and incensed criminals.
Kanu is famed for illegalities and murderous cruelty in the guise of Biafran agitations and it would not escape the sight of anyone that himself and the group delight in exhibiting the bizarre. Strings of incidents attest to Kanu/IPOB’s willful aberrations’ in the mask of secession struggles.
For instance, in 2013, Kanu aired the first broadcast of Radio Biafra from Nigeria and according to his later explanations, only his laptop, Internet and other devices, hooked unto the London station of Radio Biafra to reach out to the world. If the airwaves in London are not regulated, in Nigeria, it is regulated and proprietors of radio stations are licensed to operate within lawfully defined broadcast codes. But Kanu traduced it and expected the Federal Government of Nigeria to watch him condescend to such levels of affront unchallenged.
When former President Goodluck Jonathan organized the National Conference, Kanu openly threatened Southeast delegates never to sight home, (Igboland) if they fail to negotiate and extract a Biafran state from the conference. Quite more at peace with his soul when he sucks blood, he proceeded to threaten the rest of Nigerians with bloodletting, if the Political Confab does not accede to IPOB’s demand for a Biafran republic.
Picking his words so recklessly, on SaharaTV’s with Rudolf Okonkwo, which were no verbal accidental discharges, but a preconceived plot of IPOB, Kanu blustered;
“If they fail to give us Biafra, Somalia will look like a paradise compared to what will happen to that zoo. It is a promise, it is a pledge and it is also a threat to them. If they do not give us Biafra, there will be nothing living in that very zoo they call Nigeria; nothing will survive there, I can assure you.”
Such effrontery is only identifiable with criminals and satanic gangs like Abubakar Shekau of the blighted Boko Haram fame. Otherwise, Kanu’s innermost convictions on the loud noise, about Biafran secession defile logic and is vehemently opposed to reason as obtainable in decent climes. He cannot even convince his soul about the desirability of the aspiration he is leading, much more his Igbo kinsmen to back him.
Sensible Igbos in their millions perceive IPOB and its ideology more as manifestations’ of veiled criminals, looters, murderers’ and arsonists. And in Nigeria where everything becomes instant business for idle minds, Kanu has found a handful of supporters who intermittently display placards in some Southeastern cities, create confusion and commotion, to find avenues to perpetrate unimaginable crimes on the people.
Kanu renounces the idea of a peaceful approach to anchor the so called Biafran independence he angles to achieve and at the same time, acts violently in a manner intended to curry the sympathy of the international community to back IPOB for the deceptive garbs of fighting for liberation.
He said in the same interview that; “I do not believe in peaceful actualization or whatever rubbish it is called. I have never seen where you become free by peaceful means.”
He sounds like a lunatic by claiming majority of Igbos support a Biafran secession as espoused by IPOB and he draws his conclusion by virtue of birth and blood or DNA of Igbos. But nowhere in the civilized wild world people become part of a cause or struggle on the simple reason of ancestry. The people have the right to believe in your philosophy or ideology and consciously subscribe to it or shun it.
You do not use brute force as typified by the Kanu gang and think the rest of the country should clap for you. It is absolute rubbish. No one who embarks on murderous violence against citizens of a nation-state, expects to be honoured with garlands of gallantry or that the law should treat him kindly.
Nnamdi Kanu may need to go back to the drawing board, assuming he is really serious with secession of Biafra. The whole world cannot cringe before Kanu because he has the mouth and the strength to shout loud obscenities.
Kanu’s IPOB and indeed, other pro-Biafran agitators should listen and observe the perception of Nigerians, not just the Igbo nation alone, about Biafra at this moment. What is genuine and lawfully executed is supported by all. It explains why prominent Nigerians, including former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo personally attended the “Biafra, 50 Years After” event at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
And Obasanjo counseled that “Some of the people agitating for Biafra today were not even born then. They don’t know what it entails.”
IPOB leader has created fear, instead of soliciting for understanding and support from the Igbos for whatever his organization represents. That is the dubiousness in it. Consistently calling for war in the mask of secession cannot hoodwink anybody from the reality.
And Elsewhere in Igboland, survivors who experienced the 30 months Biafran orchestrated Nigerian civil war are dead scared at the apparent instigation of another war as mouthed by Kanu. It is unreasonable and inconsistent with agitations of such nature anywhere in the world. Even with a peaceful agitation, they feel it is not worth the pain and energy, as they prefer to remain in Nigeria and salvage it with others.
With this thinking, fast gaining currency among majority of Igbos in the Southeast, Kanu and his gang have fast morphed into enemies of the people. Yes, the IPOB leader has the inalienable right to canvass for any weird cause, but he must also respect the freedom and dignity of others who do not wish to belong to his cause. It is not only heartless for you to mindlessly murder opponents’ by slitting their throats or torturing them to coma and thereafter, send them for execution because they opposed membership of your gang and its abhorrent and evil activities.
But with the torrents of opposition voices in the Southeast against IPOB and its agenda, Kanu should be wise enough to read the handwriting on the wall before he turns to look at his back and sees no single soul behind him. He may be interested to know that an average Igbo man today is sure that he does not and has never represented the interest of the ordinary Southeasterner whose businesses and investments are scattered everywhere in Nigeria.
He is rather creating divisions and mutual distrust among a peaceful people, which is capable of destroying the future of every average Igbo man in Nigeria.
If Nnamdi Kanu and his gang of outlaws are convinced of having genuine grievances necessitating the agitations, let them emulate the Niger Delta example whose leaders tabled their demands for the benefits of the communities, before President Muhammedu Buhari, who has commenced action on remedies.
But opting for deception by assembling miscreants as always done by Kanu’s IPOB and deploying them to unleash violence on the poor people of the Southeast and preventing them from conducting the legitimate business of survival cannot and would never be condoned by Nigeria’s security agents.
Udeh an advocate of social justice writes from Abagana, Anambra State.