Listen to article
The 21st of October in 2018 was perhaps a day that many from the Southeast region would never forget. It was the day that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu made a radio broadcast and openly threatened the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari while asking all indigenes of the Southeast region and all members of the Indigenous People of Biafra to boycott the coming 2019 elections.
That radio broadcast was one to remember. His voice was rigid and commanding as he told Igbo blood running in their veins to shun the elections till his demands were met. He had threatened that elections would not take place in the Southeast zone unless the Federal Government agreed to a referendum to determine the sovereignty of Biafra.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu also reiterated that the sit at home order was a form of Referendum to determine their continued allegiance to Nigeria and it would also serve as a form of referendum for the predominantly Igbo people of the Southeast wish to secede from Nigeria.
‘IPOB will liberate Biafra and we will not take part in any election until we get a referendum, and this is not negotiable, we will achieve this by every necessary means.’‘The Referendum is to ascertain number of those who want Nigeria politics and those who want Biafra freedom through a peaceful and democratic process for the sovereignty of our dear nation Biafra.’
His broadcast was met with a lot of reactions from Igbos and other tribes in Nigeria alike, some openly admired his guts and threw in their support with him, others admonished him and lambasted the hell out of him threatening him to renounce his decision with immediate effect. Most Southeast Governors and the apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, also tackled him heavily on the issue declaring that they were not in support while laying huge sanctions on the election boycott order.
It came as a huge surprise when some months later, two days before the main elections, he asked members of the separatist group and other Igbo indigenes to throw in their full participation in Nigeria’s general elections. He claimed that all his submitted preconditions and terms have been met, signed, sealed, and delivered.
‘Having confirmed this evening that all our preconditions and terms have been met, signed, sealed and delivered; I hereby call-off the election boycott across Biafraland on Feb. 16, 2019’, the IPOB leader who is on self-exile wrote.
‘I dedicate this historic victory to the formidable #IPOB family worldwide.’
The comment by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu came a few days after he had an exclusive interview with BBC Journalist, Chiagozie Mwomwu, where he reiterated IPOBs initial decision to shun the elections across ‘Biafra land’.
‘We want to send a very clear and unmistaken message to humanity that we are serious about Biafra. We will lock Biafra down on the 16th to convey this message that Biafra is all that we are seeking is all that we want not Nigeria…’, he was quoted as saying during the interview.
Now, it was not immediately clear why Mazi Nnamdi Kanu decided to suspend the boycott. He did not also give details of the ‘preconditions and terms’ he said he had ‘confirmed’ to be met. But there was one particular fact that could not be denied, Nnamdi Kanu gave the directive without consulting local members of the IPOB or even giving them as much as a brief or a press release as to what transpired between him and the Federal Government.
The Igbos have an adage that goes like this, ‘Onye ajuju anaghi efu uzo’ (He who asks questions would never get lost).
One thousand and one times Nnamdi Kanu has been asked to provide the details of that particular meeting and agreement with the Federal Government of which he changed the boycott directive and yet one thousand and one times has he declined to open up while craftily dodging the questions and speaking on other less pressing matters. This should show how crooked and cunning he is with the notion of the Biafran Secession and the fight for Referendum.
Many youths and adults had marched on the streets, campaigning for the election boycott; they were killed, imprisoned and tortured, their sweatdropped and blood spilt, yet, they continued, screaming no election because Nnamdi Kanu had said election boycott was the pathway to freedom. At the eleventh hour; Kanu came up with the fraudulent ‘signed, sealed and delivered’ slogan, everything disappeared, while those who were arrested campaigning for election boycott were still in detention, those that were killed still in the mortuary, Kanu went behind and imaginarily signed and sealed a fairytale document that existed only in his head. All to what cost?
All the efforts have come to nothing; all the struggles, incarcerations came to nothing. Children have been made fatherless for nothing, wives have been made widows for nothing, everything Igbos put on the line campaigning for the election boycott became waste of time. A year and some months have passed, Nigeria is in a terrible state, worse than she has ever been, Igbos are being marginalised and discriminated against while the puppeteer called Mazi Nnamdi Kanu lives and flourishes in the United Kingdom which is a hundred times better than Nigeria.
When one reminisces on the events of that year, one would have taken Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to be a serious freedom fighter who had the welfare of his Igbo brothers and sisters at heart. He had threatened that anyone who violated that boycott would be stoned by IPOB members thus putting fears into the hearts of many. From the comfort zone of the White man’s land, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu called for the stoning of hardworking men and women of Igboland. Men and women striving through thick and thin to make ends meet in a country that the odds are against them. This was a senseless and self-destructive utterance that best be characterized as words of a crook who only cares about his own personal benefits.
Using the 1978 Jonestown Massacre in the United States as an example where a religious sect leader, Jim Jones ordered the suicide death of 900 members of his members due to criticisms and sanctions from the United States Government. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has shown that he does not give a hoot about the life of his members. Various massacres of IPOB members have gone unanswered with Nnamdi Kanu spewing out more saliva riddled broadcasts while asking for more alms, donations and making empty threats on those who do not donate.
Earlier this year, on the 3rd of June, he had lamented on the alleged stinginess of Igbos living in the United States of America while publishing the contributions of each country to the IPOB Defence Fund. He criticised Igbo people in the United States of America for contributing as low as $2,300 to the fund, saying they are wicked, gossipy, and stingy while lambasting Biafrans all over the world for contributing only $143,000 (One Hundred & Forty-Three Thousand Dollars). Who in his right senses would donate to a cause led by a man with no direction and no plan?
Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB are deliberately trying to make a caricature out of Ndigbo which is why a number of other Southeastern States and South-South States have declared a persona non grata on Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB sect. Their reasons being that the ideology of secession and Referendum is now being used to pursue personal gains and funds to fill pockets. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has nothing to offer he is just seeking a way to stay relevant. He pretends that he is fighting for Biafra by pushing the agenda that there would be no Igbo president, but he is actually mounting pressure on the political class to recognise him and that is where it ends. Like the election boycott; if they take him seriously, there will only be another, ‘signed, sealed and delivered’ phantom that brings efforts to nothing. Nnamdi Kanu has made the Biafran struggle so fake that even a reasonable man would never associate himself with Biafra, even though a real agitator takes over tomorrow. The United Nations visit, The European Union’s invite, the Defense Fund, Referendum meeting, Election Boycott, everything has been a ploy right from the beginning.
For Ndigbo and other inhabitants of the Southeast region to remain focused and competitive, they cannot make the mistake of having a crook and a whitewashed fraudster in charge of the affairs of things when there are other credible upstanding men around. It is painful to see that most brainwashed Igbos have allowed a man who does not understand the value of labor to keep manipulating the Biafran Spirit. Igbos are not fools and should never be taken for a mental ride.
Some self-reflection is needed if Igbos are to wiggle ourselves out of this. As Igbos, even though the crooks and fraudsters in IPOB have lost their sense of directions and their driving forces, Ndigbo as a tribe must remain wise and be faithful to their age-long traditional understanding that the medicine against wickedness and evil is the power to say no. Which is why Igbos have to stand up and refuse to be brainwashed. Igbos must say no to the weaponisation of the Biafran Spirit against Igbos by IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu. Igbos must start challenging IPOB’s ideology and strategy of misinformation. Igbos must counter their buffoonery with a sound and superior argument backed by facts and not lies and deceit. It is high time Nnamdi Kanu knows that the game is fast coming to an end.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK