|Mazi Nnamdi Kanu - Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra|
The first time I have been to Imo state-Owerri was to investigate the controversial grazing bill on the floor of Imo state house of assembly as a neutral journalist. Uju Onwudiwe granted me and my colleague interview on the bill she is sponsoring; she was able to convince us that there is no grazing bill on the floor of Imo state house of assembly. My effort to convince the public proved futile as they don’t trust Rochas Okorocha. The people of Biafra have lost confidence in Rochas Okorocha and the coldness of Uju Ownudiwe towards my effort discouraged my effort towards the investigation as sanctioned by a senior colleague in the struggle.
One month later after my investigation in the state house of assembly; I received a call from the government house for a chat from a source who intended to convince me that Rochas Okorocha deserves more than he is getting from the people of Biafra. The chat which was aimed to channel my sympathy to Rochas was unofficially held and in respect of the state of the agitation by the people of Biafra, I decided to share my view which I could not out rightly share during the chat. This piece is bluntly written and I believe that with right decision or move and apology; and hence we work towards justice and truth, Nnamdi Kanu will be happy with everybody.
I don’t know how it happened or what really transpired and I don’t care to know because I met truth and examined it and it passed. I tuned in to radio Biafra and I heard a reverberating voice; warning that Rochas Okorocha should be boycotted “Boycott everything boycottable; that was what Barrister said. I am telling you people now, I know you won’t hear. I said boycott Rochas Okorocha and his election” I heard Nnamdi Kanu for the first time over the radio. I have just been accredited, poised to vote Jonathan not because he has done much but because I fear Christians will be at risk if Buhari wins the election. “Buhari will win with over two million votes; if you like vote with your ten fingers, you are wasting time, is better to boycott the election” he said again and this time I agreed and went home without casting my vote. I demanded the frequency of the radio station; that was how it all began.
Subsequently, I realized that Rochas Okorocha is a big enemy of Biafra; he had just been accused of jamming radio Biafra. Radio Biafra could not be accessed in Owerri, there is a battle going on and it is a serious one. I asked few questions, I was told that Rochas Okorocha left APGA and joined Hausa APC and that was the annoyance of Nnamdi Kanu. APGA had just started, two states is a good count for a tender party the Igbo speaking Biafrans planned to make a main party. Rochas killed that dream just to favor the North; but with Willie Obiano’s character; I am beginning to have doubt over Igbo party. Anything concerning Igbo is always a curse, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo to Igbo party; they have sucked the blood of Biafrans.
My phone rang on that fateful day; it was to meet a source who wants to discuss on behalf of Rochas Okorocha. I don’t know if it was official or a personal mission; I heeded because I wanted to hear and know everything. I told one of my colleagues about the call and he urged me to heed it; I objected holding the meeting in Imo state because I was hooked up in Ihiala with a family project; on a mutual ground, the source drove down to Ihiala where we had the meeting. We exchanged pleasantries and I opened the floor with my dissatisfaction with Rochas Okorocha and told the source that he should count out anything that would warrant meeting Rochas that it is a taboo for Biafrans. I told him to urge Rochas to change his way and tell Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu the way he told him to hold him. But he erupted in defense of Rochas Okorocha “His Excellency is a good man; look at what he has done in Imo state, he is one Governor I know that gave free access to his people. You don’t write to meet him, he is plain and free and he associates with the people. He drives himself and doesn’t behave like all these big men you see; I don’t see anybody that can be compared to his Excellency. He has beautified Imo state and done immensely for our people” the source said as I listened attentively; my record is active, I was prepared for the source.
Two weeks earlier, I had traveled to Abia state for a burial, I saw the condition of Imo state and her roads; I had to endure the sermon of the source, I would feel impressed and want to hear more and the source felt I am falling in line. “We are in support of self determination but our people must not put their eggs in one basket. We are still in politics so we can help secretly, self determination is good; we are aware Kanu has done nothing but we are considering a lot of things” the source said. I gestured smartly and adjusted on my couch. The source is unaware of our determination to restore Biafra; he thought we would stop on the way; he thought this is Uwazurike’s time; he believes I will be overwhelmed and I would succumb to the sermon.
“His Excellency has done nothing wrong, he just told the President to keep holding Nnamdi Kanu that releasing him would cause more violence. He is simply being cautious and to avoid violence, we witnessed violence in 1967 and we should not witness it again. His Excellency is a good man, he wants the polity to calm; if Nnamdi Kanu would agree to stop making trouble; his Excellency will tell Buhari to release him”. I was angry this time but I have to be wise, smile and be a fool at least for this period. Is Nnamdi Kanu troublesome, what has he done that is troublesome, is asking for Biafra the trouble, has he been seen with a gun, has any IPOB member been caught in any unlawful act? I don’t know what the trouble he would stop is all about but if asking for Biafra is the trouble; I am aware nothing on earth will stop the trouble.
Since Rochas Okorocha advised that Kanu should be detained, how has it fared? They tried to subdue unarmed agitators and armed agitators sprang from elsewhere with same demand. Is Nigeria not bleeding more than it has ever bled and what has changed since Kanu was detained? Is releasing Kanu and facing the agitation with dialogue not the best approach? Kanu doesn’t want violence, the reality of the matter is very obvious, they are pushing Biafra into violence and if they succeed, Somalia will be a paradise compared to Nigeria as Kanu promised. With war or without war, Biafra will come; any where they come from Biafra will be restored. Rochas Okorocha reacted emotionally, he saw Nnamdi Kanu as an enemy to have given such advice. I am of the view that it is time to release Nnamdi Kanu and let dialogue start and if the purpose is achieved next ten years, we can beat our chest and say, for once, we acted like civilized people.
“His Excellency grew up in the North; Hausa people made him what he is today, truly he cannot leave his ground but his heart is with his people. He is a Biafran, the only difference here is that he grew up in the North and did business and everything there. We should not be too sentimental, let us try and judge him with what he has done. Look around you, the protest the people conducted for Kanu’s release, didn’t people die in all states? But take a look here in his state, did anybody die, didn’t he protect and talk with protesters, didn’t he give protesters security? People must stop being sentimental and know that his Excellency meant well for Ndigbo. What did he say about Kanu? Just that releasing him will cause more problems.” The source said again.
This further confirms what Nnamdi Kanu said; that Rochas is not a Biafran breed, we must admit the fact that Rochas is struggling to please the people he feels are his brothers or blood. It would be hard to separate him from the Northern oligarchy where he came from and there is likelihood that he is a stooge against Biafrans. I refused to be convinced, I admit his character but I forbid his fundamentals; if one fails to think that Rochas is pleasing us to hiss us, then the person values not his life. Obiano and other governors might have killed Biafrans but a devil we know is better than an angel we don’t know.
Biafrans have a submission they want to make and for not making the submission before my source was to respect the feeling of my source. I was alone that I needed to hide my feelings until I leave the scene and now in the comfort of my lodge I bring the submission. Biafrans said “Okorocha remains the arc enemy of the people of Biafra and let him pray that nothing happens to Nnamdi Kanu. He should as a matter of urgency go back and tell Buhari to release him and initiate a dialogue to find solution. Solution shall be within the conditions Biafra shall be declared, we are as fearless as Nnamdi Kanu and we are sure that Biafra shall be restored because God determined it” they continued
“Rochas Okorocha has one billion Naira mansion in Owerri, he has family in Biafra land and when it would get dirty, he would pay dearly, he would pay with everything he has and that is the promise. He has option of living in Biafra only if he goes back and tells his father Buhari to release our leader. He said keeping him will douse tension and I ask; had Kanu been released, would pipeline destruction have crippled the economy and destroyed Buhari’s government? Does he think Avengers are from heaven? They are Biafrans and will continue to destroy and cripple the economy till Kanu is released” an IPOB principal officer quarried.
I so much buy into Kanu’s idea of a peaceful Biafra and would vehemently oppose any form of violent instigation by the Nigeria State. With the anger in every member of IPOB, any full blown violence will cost everybody and even Europe. I am of the view that resolution can be reached, and we have to sue for peace by first releasing Nnamdi Kanu and getting the issue of Biafra discussed on a round table. When Buhari feels he has armies that have guns, he should know that the people can form an army with more sophisticated weapons. It would be more destructive for him because the people already have sympathy from across the globe; let Kanu be released as experiment of holding him has failed.
Authored by Ifeanyi Chijioke
Published by Chinwe Korie