I HAVE, from the very beginning of this menace, come to the conclusion that the Indigenous People Of Biafra’s, IPOB, movement would be mismanaged by both sides of the divide.
The claims of the movement and the federal military force’s response gave the impression that if we caution is thrown to the wind, the crisis would snowball into unimaginable chaos. We were almost there a few weeks ago and we may still get there if we rebuke good counsel.
As a matter of fact and speaking I believe in unity in diversity, the world would be a boring place if there were no differences. When our differences come together it brings a wonderful harmony and Nigeria will be a save place. Whether we appreciate it or not, this is one of the things that makes Nigeria one of the greatest countries in the world.
First, I have issues with the IPOB agitation. The way IPOB and its minders went about actualising their desire leaves much to be desired. I’m not against anybody agitating peacefully for anything since it’s the people’s fundamental human rights.
They have the right for self determination, they have the right that every other person has, but I have issues with the manner its been done by the IPOB. Also, I’m not against the man Nnamdi Kanu. He has the right to react when he feels shortchanged or intimidated.
The Igbo nation has the right to react when they feel marginalised, which is one of the reasons Nigerians are calling for restructuring. But I have issues with the way they are going about the agitation. If IPOB is going about this agitation peacefully the way it’s done in other civilised societies do it, I don’t think there would have been such a problem.
I feel that they need to readdress their strategy and also some of the hate speeches that we always hear from Nnamdi Kanu and the way he speaks to other people and the insults on Nigerians is reprehensible. He must cultivate respect for the leadership of the nation. Regardless of what may have happened, we need to respect people in authority how much more a President because he’s an institution as well as representing Nigerians. We may have the right to speak our minds but we don’t have the right to call people unprintable names. Neither do we have the right to incite people into violence, which is almost one of the things he has been doing. The reason for the agitation is right but the method is wrong.
In the same vein, I have issue with the attitude of the federal government. The President Buhari administration has made an idol out of Nnamdi Kanu. I say this because it’s not every fly that flies around you that demands your attention. The government has to imbibe the culture of not ignoring distractions. This is not limited to IPOB alone. More also, IPOB is not a violence group, has not had any record of carrying arms to kill people like Fulani herdsmen or even the Boko-Haram. Therefore, I have an issue with tagging IPOB a terrorist group. The federal government was too much in a hurry and the procedure was wrong.
The way the federal government clamped down on Nnamdi Kanu and his supporters can be classified as primitive. It was as if there was something else in the mind of presidency. IPOB is crying out for what people all over the world are demanding for. It doesn’t have to be different in this part of our world. I am of the opinion that the presence of soldiers in or around his house as the case may be is wrong. I think that soldiers killing people in the name of trying to kill IPOB is wrong without attending to the injustices that gave raise to IPOB.
Instead of learning from the past administrations, the presidency opted for a military approach, it would had been easier to say that it is because of the president’s military background but it is worthy to note that President Olusegun Obasanjo was also a Military officer under who’s administration, Nnamdi Kalu was arrested without making the news.
The immediate past president, Doctor Goodluck Ebele Jonathan placed a fast one on the Biafrans by making Bianca, wife of the late leader of Biafra, Odumegwu Ojukwu one of his cabinet members. The agitation was submerged because they (Biafrans) were considered to be part of government.
This administration has deified Nnamdi Kanu. Now, he is more popular than he has ever been. He was nobody yesterday, nobody knew anything about a mere radio presenter and radio Biafra promoter. After returning from the prison with the associated dramas that ensue, he became iconic hero amongst his large following. Even now, the entire world wants to know who Kanu is and what he stands for.
The analogy is simply, when you respond automatically to unwarranted issues people want to know why you are responding swiftly. You only dignify some people’s accusation by responding in the first place because I want to believe that what Nnamdi Kanu really wants is publicity, which he got in full dosage, courtesy of the presidency. He also wanted the government to fight him the way he is fighting them. He kept pushing the government to do it through his words and it did it and they fell to disrepute in the eyes of international community.
Why did Nigerian government refused to ignore him since he was armless? Or was there anything violent about their approach except for the rumors? The truth about it is that they were practically doing nothing that was hurting anybody. The government should have ignored him because ignoring him would practically have killed his objectives. The government should have been busy facing more pressing issues than looking at somebody like Nnamdi Kanu.
IPOB could have continued to seek amendment to the 1999 Constitution to accommodate referendum.
Both IPOB and the government were wrong in their approaches. Nothing can be gained by physical combat that wouldn’t be achieved on the dialogue table. One prosperous and invisible Nigeria is only possible in the absence of injustice, economic inbalcace, ethnocentrism, greed and religious sentiment.
Mr. Ahubelem Uche an industrialist, wrote from Lagos.