The emergence of Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB faction had only complicated matters in a scenario that was pretty twisted to begin with. His radio Biafra broadcasts were cleverly calculated to whip the masses into a frenzy, and convince them that the indignities, real and imagined, that they were suffering were as a result of being part of Nigeria, and that they would stand a better chance if they struck out on their own as a biafran nation. To my mind, he has capitalized on the typical Nigerian escapist mentality, and the irresponsible idea that someone else is always to blame for our woes and situations. You find igbo men saying that wen we get Biafra, everything will be alright, a straight up lie that they have been fed by Kanu and his minions.
My issues with his (Kanu’s) utterances are legion, and he should never have threatened the sovereignty of the Nigerian nation. There isn’t any government anywhere in the world that would stomach such utterances. We can agree that the government is badly run, that things are getting worse, that certain policies which are implemented by the government do not favour the common man, but that is still, to me, not sufficient reason to call for a secession. Scholars of in-depth history will recall that the great Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, once contested for the presidency of the Nigerian nation.
I personally find it hard to reconcile the contesting for the presidency of the federal republic of Nigeria with the renewed agitation for a Biafran nation. If Ojukwu himself, who led the clamour for a Biafran nation in the late sixties, can turn around and become so firm a believer in the ideal of a Nigerian Nation as to venture contesting for its presidency, biko, who is Nnamdi Kanu? His Wikipedia page says he was born in Nigeria, and that he left for the UK when he was unable to complete his tertiary education in Nigeria, presumably due to strikes or whatever. It says nothing about the fact that his entire family, who are all british citizens (he is also a british citizen) is still in the UK, safe and sound, while he comes here and instigates people to go out in the streets and get shot so as to draw international attention to his vision of a Biafra that is not even half as relevant as Ojukwu’s own was. The teeming crowds that he has fed the pipe dream of a Biafran utopia to are forgetting to ask some key questions.
Who are the instigators of this new Biafra?
What do they stand to gain?
Who will be the leaders of the nation, if it is formed?
How many south eastern governors can be said to be performing excellently, and making the best use of the resources that are allocated to them from the federal accounts? The little monies that the south eastern states have been getting over the years, to what use have they been put? Is the south east working? Are there good, functional and motorable roads? Are there streetlights? Is there clean potable water? Is there a conducive environment for growth of industries? If, at their small levels, the states and local governments and wards have been unable to deliver the dividends of democracy to the populace, what then is the basis of the agitation for a Biafra? Is Nigeria really the enemy? Or are we now so blind and stupid that we now think that asking questions of our leaders whom we elected is now wrong, and it is better to wallow in unrealistic pipe dreams.
My honest opinion is that the biafran dream, if realized, will merely present us with a new set of taskmasters who will continue where the old ones left off, if not making things worse. How many igbo senators and representatives have taken pay cuts and used them to fund projects? Have they fixed our roads? Have they given us water? Have they fixed our healthcare services? So what is the basis for the clamouring?
And Nnamdi Kanu’s sudden recent fascination with the jews is another in a list of poor attempts to drum up sympathy and attract international attention. The wise thing to do would be to gently go back to his base in the UK and stop deceiving people with his twisted brand of igbo nationalism.
And as the polity warms up gradually in preparation for the very important 2019 elections, a lot of political charlatans who have no ideals will begin to come crawling out of the woodwork and begin to make public appearances with Nnamdi Kanu in a bid to use his public image to sway the polity and worm their way into people’s hearts. More than ever before, ndi igbo need to be guided.