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WHO IS NNAMDI KANU?

NOTE: First published on November 2016. The “Published” date on the tab is the date that it was uploaded on this new site. Though some issues in this piece may still be current (depending on…), this is to avoid mistaking this piece as current news.

This is “No Bullshiting,” by Harry Agina.

Greetings, folks!

Once upon a past at the beginning of the Nnamdi Kanu phenomenon in Nigeria, I wrote a Newspaper Article titled WHO IS NNAMDI KANU? It was not posted on this blog site then, and it went as follows:

The question—Who is Nnamdi Kanu?—is inevitable in the current agitation for the Sovereign State of Biafra by groups within the Igbo race in Nigeria. This question comes in various forms and slants, depending on who is asking. Some are positively slanted, and others negatively slanted. My own slant is objectively and mildly negative, I must declare. Who is Nnamdi Kanu to impose his war-mongering will on me; a butterfly that thinks he is a bird?

An Igbo proverb says that a child who has not seen a real fight may say that he wants to wake up to a fight every day; or something close. Nnamdi Kanu is spoiling for war because he has not been in one! People, I experienced the Nigeria Civil War (aka Biafra War) as a small boy, and I’ve got to tell ya, I didn’t like it; not one bit!!! I was only about twelve years of age when Biafra war ended on January 12, 1970.  And, if the war had lasted just one more month beyond that day, I would have been conscripted as a child soldier and sent to the battle fronts to perish like many before me. Indeed, some boys under the age of ten had already been conscripted in my town; I was just lucky so far. There were simply no more men to fight the war! So, you see why I truly can’t accept it when a young man who did not live through that horror, goes out there and brings another war for me to go through, without seeking my opinion. One war is more than enough for one lifetime!!!

So, I repeat; who is Nnamdi Kanu??? What pedigree does he have to be this audacious to plunge all Igbos into another war with his quest for a Sovereign State of Biafra? And, he has the audacity to include non-Igbo territories in his concocted map of Biafra without seeking their opinions or will!!! Let’s face it; Kanu has already created a pre-war kind of atmosphere hanging over Igbo people all over Nigeria now, with the attendant hostility from other ethnic groups, albeit mild in some cases. Not long after a northern region’s youths organization issued a notice to the Igbos in the north to leave their land within three months, a Yoruba group issued a milder warning to Igbos in the southwest, too. It was all because of the utterances of one self-appointed Igbo Messiah. Generally, he has a wrong attitude and wrong approach to the demand for equity for the Igbo race in Nigeria!

Many wars have happened, and many are presently happening all over the world. They are consuming millions of innocent people. And, most of them are for the reason that self-serving privileged individuals woke up one day and decided to impose their individual wills on millions of citizens. Some of those war-mongering individuals in leadership positions are/were actually certifiably clinically insane. What makes this so unacceptable is that the individuals who foment trouble are often sitting pretty in the safety of their fortified homes. In their power-drunk, ego-tripping, self-serving audacity, they urge or force the “common” people to go out and die to uphold their will.

So, I say, if Nnamdi Kanu wants to be another Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu the hero, with an agenda to “save” the Igbo race, then he needs to ask how Ojukwu approached it. Ojukwu was widely accepted as the leader of Biafra in 1967, because he did the right things. For instance, somebody needs to inform Kanu that Ojukwu led the Biafra war almost reluctantly, with caution, and not as a war monger. I was too young then, but a version of the narrative has it that “The Eastern Region Consultative Assembly” at some point became impatient with Ojukwu. He was accused of being too cautious and not declaring the war soon enough. This was for the reason that Ojukwu was still hesitant as the soldiers of the federal government of Yakubo Gowon were already on the move to flank and vanquish Biafra. Yet, Ojukwu was, and is still being blamed by some people for prosecuting the war. The argument on whether the persons that blame Ojukwu are right or wrong is a story for another day. The point at hand is that Ojukwu was wise and cautious; with administrative, military, and leadership pedigree.

First, Ojukwu followed a long line of negotiations at the center, which eventually culminated in the famed “Aburi Accord.” Then, he went into wide consultation with the leaders of the entire geographical space that was to be named Biafra. This earned him the wide acceptance by all; and, his inclusiveness was the reason that an Efik man was his second-in-command, and not an Igbo man. Mind you, Biafra war was fought when Nigeria was under military rule, and Ojukwu was a military man—but he consulted for consensus.  Kanu is a civilian with no pedigree, in a democracy, and he wants to force a war upon a people!!! He has the audacity to order (not persuade) the Igbo people to boycott elections in Nigeria, starting with the upcoming Anambra governorship election of November 2017. There is a great need for Igbos to resoundingly speak up against his excesses.

If the truth be told, the Igbo people did not ask for the Biafra war, either. The first military coup d’etat in Nigeria, in 1966 was the root  cause of the Biafra war. The coup was championed by less than eight Igbos soldiers, including Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. In fact, the coup was not even an all-Igbo coup. There were officers of other ethnic origins in it, but only the Igbos were/are blamed for it. Beyond this, the entire Igbo race is still being blamed and heavily persecuted for it. The persecutors conveniently forget that the entire Igbo race did not execute the coup. We did not conspire, nor did we conduct a referendum to agree on the coup. We did not mandate Major Nzeogwu and his five or six Igbo cohorts to prosecute the coup d’état on our behalf; no sir, no ma’am! And, Igbos did not conspire as a race to kill the Northern victims, which ignited the chain of events that culminated in the 1967 war. So, few Igbos brought trouble, justifiably or not, and the entire Igbo race suffered severely for it. That was a military era, and those of us who were civilians could not do anything about the situation.

And, that’s what I’m complaining about Nnamdi Kanu now. This is a democracy, and we should not allow Kanu to push us into another war. If we allow him to start another war, he may even run away when it starts. It would consume the less privileged masses of Igbo land who cannot escape like Kanu. This time, we can stop Nnamdi Kanu from plunging us into his war. The Holy Bible says that evil triumphs when good men remain silent. I want to believe that there is something similar to this maxim in the Holy Qur’an, too. No wonder, I am writing this to contribute in my own little way. I pray that, with resounding renouncement of Kanu’s present approach by Igbos, the world may realize that he is not speaking for the Igbos. That way, northern youths may allow the Igbos in the north to reside peaceful in their midst, and rescind their threat to sack or hurt them.

I have discussed this matter with several reasonable Igbo persons, within and outside Nigeria. The consensus is that Nnamdi Kanu’s cause is great, but he is definitely pursuing it in the wrong way. He is sacrificing the lives and well-being of the entire Igbo race that live in Nigeria. And, he seems to be pursuing his own personal benefits. Many believe that Kanu’s so-called self-determination for the Igbos, is actually his own personal self-actualization of popularity and wealth.

Initially, many Igbo observers, including I, endorse Kanu’s worthy cause. We believed that Kanu and his cohorts were in the agitation to negotiate for better conditions for the Igbo people in the Nigerian project. And, yes, indeed, the Igbo race has not had a fair deal in the Nigerian project since Nigeria’s civil war ended in 1970. Yes, indeed, there is the need to treat the Igbo race better. All Igbos know this, and people of other ethnic extractions do admit it, too. Some outspoken prominent non-Igbos have actually voiced it, and spoke for equity on behalf of the Igbo race. But, unfortunately, Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB organization are going about it the wrong way. Their way leads to doom for the Igbos, and not betterment. If Kanu was interested in the Igbo betterment, then he would have known where to draw the line between constructive agitation and war-mongering. He would have known when to start using the attention he has created for political negotiation. Instead, he veered into the path of many radicals who have plunged millions of innocent people into unnecessary wars and destruction all over the world. Importantly, if indeed there should ever be a Sovereign State of Biafra, or any other secession in Nigeria for that matter, it should be through negotiations; and not through a war. I don’t want to see another war, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY:

I would like to ask Nnamdi Kanu how he plans to take responsibility for his utterances and actions when they begin to really take a toll on Igbos. For instance, how does he plan to feed and cater for all the Igbos that may be thrown back to the Igbo land from the North, if the Northern Youths carry out their threat? How does he plan to address the matter of all the people that may leave their entire livelihood and property in the north to flee to Igbo land? Did he read history before he went into this venture? Did he research the Biafra war effects? Did he see the pictures of kwashiorkor-stricken  children all over the land, How about pictures of young men and women who looked older than Methuselah? If the exodus should happen, Nnamdi Kanu should be economically prepared to support his victims; is he? I bet that he believes that it is okay to create such humongous problem and sit safely and comfortably in his home feeding fat, while the victims suffer and die! I do have relatives in northern Nigeria, and if that exodus does happen (God forbid), I would advise them to camp out at Kanu’s residence and demand compulsory economic support from him. And, how about the fact that lives are bound to be lost if the northern youths carry out their threat? Has Kanu ever thought about that? Is he aware of the thousands of casualties that happened in 1967 during similar incident?

When Odumegwu Ojukwu led the Biafra war, he spent his father’s vast wealth; does Kanu have a dime to spend? Ojukwu was physically in the war fronts fighting the enemy, alongside his soldiers; would Nnamdi Kanu be that brave if he starts this war that he is presently spoiling for? If he says yes, I have an instant test for him—I would like to see him leave the safety of the Igbo land where he is presently, and move to the northern Nigeria ahead of the deadline given to Igbos to quit the region. I would like him to show us the armament that he has been boasting of when the angry northern youths swoop down on him. I demand him to be personally present in the north to defend the innocent Igbos that he has caused this humongous impending problem for. If he does not make this personal sacrifice and one Igbo blood is shed, Kanu should be held responsible!!!

I watched a video where he has the impunity to declare that “Somalia would look like paradise compared to what will happen in the zoo.” Who and what is Kanu planning to use to pursue this threat; his person and his children? Does he have enough children of his own to prosecute a war? Or, as he foments his self-serving trouble, is he banking on sacrificing the lives of millions of other Igbo people whose opinion he has never sought, to go and die for him?

As an Igbo man, I take strong exception to Kanu’s pronouncements! He does not have my permission to make them on my behalf, and I know for sure that overwhelming majority of Igbos denounce his approach as I do. I was very elated to see/hear the June 29th denouncement of the widely recognized and accepted pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization named “Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo.” John Nwodo, the President General of the organization, warned that Kanu’s “IPOB organization must stop arrogating to itself the supreme leadership of Igbo land.” On the same day, the Urhobo race warned Kanu to desist from including their land in his concocted map of his Biafra. It is also good that some prominent Igbo politicians have condemned Kanu’s audacious excesses. Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State (an Igbo state) has long denounced Kanu.

We need more condemnation from more people of Igbo extraction. And, we need it urgently before the quit notice deadline, with the hope that this will quell the fire in the northern youths, and make them to sheath their swords.

In closing, I must commend Nigeria’s Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo. His response to the quit-notice of the northern youths to Igbos in the north was prompt and decisive. There is no doubt that his actions and words are yielding tremendous positive effects. The effects include the equally commendable pledge by the Kano State governor to protect the Igbos in his state. I tell ya, such are what I call no bullshiting actions, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

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