Is Nnamdi Kanu a Hypocrite?

Is Nnamdi Kanu a Hypocrite?

By Oduche AzihNnamdi Kanu on air

Nnamdi Kanu in court
Nnamdi Kanu in court

There is this report that appeared recently in most online media, (here I am quoting The Daily Post) that the “defunct(?) militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has alleged that the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, secretly agreed to denounce the struggle for the actualization of Biafra despite claiming otherwise in public.”

Really? Was this agreement with MEND or with President Muhammadu Buhari’s federal government?

Pray, when does a “defunct” organization become a “reliable source” for an important story such as this? Is MEND defunct or not? Is MEND an agent or mouthpiece of the federal government with which Kanu and IPOB are supposedly negotiating, as in talks about talks? Or is MEND collaborating with IPOB?

We may never know until the actual talks commence.

It is also possible that anyone facing the same predicament as Nnamdi Kanu will say just about anything to escape from an irrational and illegal gulag imposed on him by a despot who seems unperturbed that more than fifty percent of citizens regard him as either perpetrating or condoning genocide.

Any deal that he is deemed to have struck will be as useless as a confession extracted by a brutal police force at gunpoint. To expect his many followers, or, more correctly, co-agitators, to respect that, is quite silly.

What exactly is the ideological significance of such a development? Nothing! Zilch.

The ideological foot soldiers of IPOB and MASSOB are all over the place. Meanwhile the enemies of the struggle are strenuously hoping to add Nnamdi Kanu’s scalp to their mounting head count. To what end, I may never know.

God forbid bad thing!

I can imagine the IPOB stalwarts reasoning that Kanu will readily outlive oldman Buhari, and taking note of the cool wind of change blowing over some parts of the north already tired of its own home-grown violent militants.

Against the grain, many people there, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, are talking “restructuring.” They are coming to terms with the fact that they have actually no axe to grind with Kanu and his ilk. What with all the corruption and poverty that they have had to contend with.

Now, let us look at this story from another angle. When it broke over a fortnight ago, there was one common thread. Almost all the reporters couldn’t help but gloat. As if to say, “Don’t mind that foolish young man. I thought he said that he wouldn’t renounce Biafra. Serves him right! No be him say he wan die for jail.” Etc.

Even commentators who have picked up a quarrel with President Buhari over a litany of issues bordering on corruption in his own regime, insecurity and his inability to define an economic road-map, have all conveniently joined in demonizing Nnamdi Kanu. This reminds us of the observation by Chinua Achebe decades ago that it is only on Ndigbo that most Nigerians have perfect agreement. Something like The Igbo Question, if I may say so. However that seems to be unravelling,  thus scaring the living daylights out of those currently holding the reins of power.

Keeping Nigeria together, in the unity of Jonah and the whale, using Ndigbo as an object of scaremongering, has become rather stale. How does one explain the genocide in Agatuland, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Oyo or Ogun States? What have Ndigbo or Nnamdi Kanu got to do with that? What about the poverty in the North and the inexplicable starvation in the North-East? Even if he dies in detention, how does that relieve the poverty in the North?

It is almost turning out to be a case of every man for himself. Ndigbo have been straining not to say, “We told you so.” Crooked or not, ex-governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and activist Mujahid Dokubo-Asari would probably have more to say on this than I ever could.

Nobody seems to remember that Kanu has killed nobody, bombed no government or oil company facilities. Granted that, like the herds of Nigerian holy cows grazing in Maitama in the Federal Capital Territory, his group has disrupted vehicular traffic once in a while, that is supposed to be a misdemeanour.

The activities of IPOB in no way deserves the current scorched-earth tactics employed by this administration probably in a bid to deflect attention from its manifold failings. If indeed IPOB’s trenchant and well-articulated demand for a peacefully achieved Biafra, which is gaining traction even outside these shores, (despite the like of me still sitting on the fence), is treason, why then the delay in trying him?

Sounds familiar?

No government of Nigeria, in the past two decades, has dared go through the whole gamut of trying Chief Ralph Uwazuruike despite all the posturing to that effect.

Only those who are lawyers can fully imagine an Uwazuruike perhaps acting as his own defence counsel in court, in a trial that will attract the whole world. Nigeria would have been in the dock, not Uwazuruike.

All those issues that the winners of the last civil war (or the Nigeria-Biafra War, if you like) claim to be “settled” would have been judicially reopened as opposed to the dithering in the National Assembly. Every issue would become fair game. If it was only a matter of one man’s life, the federal forces of coercion would have found a way to eliminate Uwazuruike and or Kanu.

They haven’t done so because they cannot predict the future. The do not know for sure how Ndigbo will react. By doing so, they may unwittingly recruit for the cause the technical and intellectual minds of Igboland who have as yet not taken sides.

The current multi-pronged violent agitation in the Niger Delta and the North-East should be more than enough on anyone’s plate. Nigeria survived the last war because a large segment of the Niger Deltans did not support the Biafran initiative but more importantly actively undermined it.

Will Nigeria survive if Ndigbo as much as provide active support for the Niger Delta agitation, much less a full-blown civil war?

The leadership of the current federal government cannot be so stupid not to understand this. With its current challenges, it can hardly deliver on any of its campaign promises. To go fishing for more troubles, to deliberately open up another full front, would be the height of irresponsibility.

Nigeria cannot afford that. Nigeria will not survive that.

The federal government should, as a matter of urgency, quit dithering, release Nnamdi Kanu and proceed with  negotiations with ALL aggrieved segments of the Nigerian society.

We must always bear in mind that Kanu is not IPOB. Negotiations are bound to be a laborious and time-consuming exercise. So, we better start right now.

Commentators over the past fortnight have tended to regard with glee the very idea of negotiation, especially the variant that comes with the purported renunciation of Biafra by Mr Kanu, as an act of surrender.

Every dispute, irrespective of the eventual outcome, is brought to a conclusion with some sort of negotiations. American troops in South Vietnam did not just leave, but had to negotiate some sort of orderly withdrawal after their initial rout. Even if the federal government military forces are ordered out of Igboland today, there must be negotiations for an orderly withdrawal to reduce – if not eliminate -the tendency for reprisal attacks on the withdrawing columns by angry vigilante groups.

If on the other hand the idea is to defuse or absorb the anger of disenchanted Igbo youth in IPOB/MASSOB by rehabilitation along the lines of similar efforts in the Niger Delta or the Boko-Haram infested North-East, then negotiations must proceed on a broad front.

My effort here has been to debunk the insinuation by enemies of Nnamdi Kanu that there is something sinister or untoward about negotiations. It is not a bad word any day. It is the way to go.

Finally I stress that I find it very depressing that people who have never stood up for anything noble in their lives would find time to vilify those who have, even when the activism is gearing towards addressing issues which they themselves lack the courage to confront in public. I have years ago written about “The Nigerian Elite and Revolution” where I decried the cheap tendency to rave and rant in front of the television and the wife, without the courage to repeat the same sentiments outside the safe confines of the home. Excuse me!

Writer Nkem Ossai complained two decades ago that some activists from the south routinely tear out pages from The Aburi Accord and swear by them, while deliberately avoiding naming the source. So as to avoid appearing to support the Igbo or is it Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s viewpoint? For goodness’ sake Ojukwu was only one contributor to that historic document.

All this is changing, but rather slowly. Only the truth will set us free.

I have been vindicated by observers like Chief Solomon Asemota, The Guardian editor Abraham Ogbodo and generals of the victorious Nigerian Army, Godwin Alabi-Isama and Alani Akinrinade, among many others.

To all the latecomers, I say a rousing “Good morning.”

Oduche Azih,
Who voted for Buhari.


One Comment

  1. Bob D August 27, 2016 Reply

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