Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has built a reputation of being one of the most ruthless Governors in the Southeastern region of Nigeria. He enjoys playing to the gallery as long as the feedbacks would fall in his favor and he has been known to be a very reckless decision maker often throwing people under the bus in an effort to seek validation, so was the scenario between him and the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu about three years ago.
In September 2017, the Nigeria Army led by General Tukur Burutai announced its intention to carry out what it termed Operation Python Dance II, having done a similar thing in the South East region the previous year. The Army said it was solely looking for Armed Robbers, Kidnappers, Secessionists, and Criminals etc, but before anybody could decode their statement, it invaded the entire Abia State, torturing, killing, and maiming innocent citizens of the state.
The video clips of the atrocities of the Nigeria Army in Abia State had gone viral. Many properties were destroyed. Economic activities in Abia were brought down to a near-zero percent by the army.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as of then was seen as the face of the resistance and a major force in the secession propaganda and as such, was placed under house arrest by the Nigerian Army who promised not to harm him. His house in Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia was surrounded with over twelve Armoured tanks by the Army.
It is had been a widely stated fact that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was seeking a seat at the major table of those at the helm of affairs of the South East and he so badly wanted to be in the good books of the President, Muhammadu Buhari despite being of an opposition party. To do this, he was ready to crush Mazi Nnamdi Kanu which he was sure would earn him some validation from the Federal Government.
the Army received a new delegation from the State Government headed by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. A leaked memo showed that the Governor had taken permission from the Muhammadu Buhari-led Government to issue strict ‘for your eyes only’ directives to the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai for him to eliminate Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as he was becoming a huge pain in the neck to the Federal Government and the Abia State Government. The order was to make sure Nnamdi Kanu was silenced forever.
These directives were dispatched to the security officers surrounding Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s house and in the late hours of the 14th of September, 2017 the soldiers struck.
Soldiers numbering over 150 and some mobile policemen stormed the residence and using Armoured tank mortars and IEDs, they demolished half of the compound and the next harrowing hours saw the soldiers shooting sporadically at anything that moved, their one objective being to assassinate Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Governor Ikpeazu and Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai were bent on eliminating Kanu before divine ordinances saved the latter. Unknown to them, one way or the other, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had got wind of their plans and with the help of a few IPOB members, he was whisked away under the cover of the night, keeping to thick bushes and shrubs till he was safely away from the fight. At the end of the onslaught, eighteen individuals had been arrested and twenty-two individuals had been brutally murdered including Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s cousin and some other relatives
One would have expected Governor Ikepazu to plead with President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the Army from Abia state since they were wrecking havoc just like how the then Governor Babatunde Fashola went on live broadcast in 2012 and asked President Goodluck Jonathan to withdraw the Army during the riot in Lagos due to increment in fuel price. And in the event that President Buhari failed to do so, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu should have formally informed the Southeast Governors Forum, the Nigerian Governors Forum, and the National Assembly leadership of the illegal activity in his state by the Presidency through the Army, for necessary action to be taken against Presidency.
But what did Governor Okezie Ikpeazu do? He sluggishly and cowardly imposed a curfew in Aba, Abia State. He did not condemn the Army of occupation in his state. He did not even have the courtesy to visit and see how his ‘directives’ were carried out.
Obviously, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu showed huge timidity and pure cowardice. To add salt to injury, in a press release signed by him, he described the casualties as “Miscreants,” Mischief makers, and “hoodlums”. He refused to blame the Army for commiting genocide in Afarakwu.
Also recently Governor Okezie Ikpeazu took to the state’s media to sqarely blame Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB and other seccessionist groups for underdevelopment; his terrible governance and infrastructural dilapidation generally in Abia state. According to him, the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, no longer regards Abia state because of Nnamdi Kanu and his incessant media onslaught against the Buhari-Led Government.
Further stating that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is the reason he has not developed Abia and completed some of the projects he promised to do because each time he approaches the Federal Government to “demand money, they always tell him that his state habours terrorists.”
Most Abia state indigenes would attest to the fact that when it comes to infrastructure and development, Abia state is lagging far behind and the reason for this is not because of Mazi Nnmadi Kanu who has been nowhere near the country for a couple of years or the IPOB organisation whose activities are more or less very peaceful and closely monitored. His lackadaisical leadership is stemmed on his penchant for corruption and greediness, siphoning state funds and Federal allocations at will and greasing the palms of his numerous henchmen and stooges who serve as Special advisers and Senior Special Assistants in the Abia state Governnment.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu should man up and body admit that he has an ax to grind with the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and not shift the blame of his terrible leadership.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK