Let me start by making myself clear for the umpteenth time. I have no regrets, neither apologies to make, for believing in and supporting the cause of Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB.
If you’re an Igbo person and you’re comfortable with how ndi Igbo are being treated in present day Nigeria then you don’t deserve to be called an Igbo person.
The first question one must ask then is why was IPOB founded? The how they are operating is secondary. And even when we get to the how, we should still ask, why did the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari send the security forces to shoot and kill peaceful demonstrators agitating for self-determination and calling for referendum? Why did he not only proscribe them but also labelled them terrorists? He literally pushed these youths into actions that sometimes went out of hand.
And why did they become hostile to their Southeast governors and most politicians from the zone? The mere fact that the Southeast governors quickly proscribed them too to please Buhari without trying to argue to remove that terrorist tag made these young people believe they had been betrayed. From that moment onwards they decided to do it their own way and started overdoing things.
Again, one will say that the call to boycott elections everywhere in Igbo land is a wrong call but have we truly asked why they insist on that call? If their votes wouldn’t count why wasting their time? Come to think of it, which election anywhere in the Southeast has truly been free-and-fair?
Why don’t our so-called leaders pause to think – these youths are agitating for the right things to be done, why are we forcing them to continue being part of a fraudulent system?
If you ask me, these members of IPOB have far more conscience than our politicians who are only selfishly leading us astray. They will easily rig elections without blinking and turn to malign the youths calling to an end to such fraudulent lifestyle.
On the coming of ESN, let me make it abundantly clear once more – if it was for the purpose it was formed, which is to stop terrorists herdsmen from continued invasion of the Southeast to butcher, main, rape and generally desecrate our land while insulting the culture of the land, the formation of ESN is 100% welcome.
The Southern Nigeria governors have unanimously banned open grazing of cows in any inch of surface in Southern Nigeria. The Federal Government should stop these herdsmen from trespassing and ESN will cease to exist.
However, let’s now talk about the excesses of IPOB.
The formation of ESN gave birth to a chaotic situation where the sudden emergence of Unknown Gun Men forced issues completely out of hand. Till this day, I don’t know who operatedare as UGM. I condemned in totality and still condemn every activity of the UGM. I still don’t believe that IPOB had the resources to have trained and directed the operations of UGM. If they did, it’s terribly wrong.
The chaos that brought about complete security breakdown in Igbo land could have been avoided at all costs. Many Biafrans lost their lives in the process and no sane person should support loss of innocent lives, not to talk of being involved in direct cause of such unnecessary deaths.
At this point it was very clear that IPOB was not enjoying majority support in their base. Such dangerous degeneration should have deeply worried the leaders of the freedom fighters.
But somehow the extraordinary rendition of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu miraculously solved the integrity questions within a twinkle of an eye. I was personally very proud being onye Igbo from what happened at the Abuja High Court on July 27. I was even more elated with what happened all over the world in solidarity demonstrations.
With Ohaneze appearing fully represented in court and with such massive support from ndi Igbo, leaders of IPOB should have hugely capitalised and started getting rid of any excesses from their methods thenceforth.
I believed that the re-arrest of Kanu has fast-tracked the agitation to the point of well-articulated actions to press home. The lawyers, particularly Aloy Ejimakor, were ticking the right boxes and getting serious attention of the international community. If the international community weren’t observing before, Kanu’s kidnap in name of re-arrest made then turn their diplomatic telescope on Nigeria and activities of IPOB. Buhari committed the blunder of breaking international laws while abducting a British citizen from a foreign land and Kanu’s lawyers are making full course meals out of the untoward.
Now, who are in charge of decision-making for IPOB? Why should they ever sanction activities that will make the same international community see some terrorist traits in their actions?
Who sanctioned sit-at-home when Biafran children are taking NECO exams? Have we moved from no election to no education?
Now, talking of sit-at-home, why sanction that to take place every Monday, knowing that it can’t be sustained? Why weaken your support base and apparent loss of control by imposing a law that its compliance will be impossible to maintain after one edition?
How does IPOB intend to force sit-at-home every Monday, knowing no government would permit that?
At this hard times, how does impoverishing umu Igbo fighting to survive affect Buhari and his Fulani-dominated government?
Why were they destroying shops and goods of Biafrans in that manner knowing that phones would be videoing from all angles and posting on social media for the same international community to watch and definitely rethink their support?
Let me tell IPOB what will happen next Monday. Security forces, including the army, will be on the streets of all Southeast and will shoot at sight anyone trying to interrupt movement and businesses. More bloodshed and more chaos in the Southeast. That will seriously harm the international sympathy being garnered since Kanu’s abduction from Kenya.
Can we all reason together? Yes, staging sit-at-home on only court appearance days of MNK may appear most ideal but that will push the Federal Government to instruct the court to give next adjournment to 12 months, thereby lengthening incarceration of their leader. Hence, I believe staging such sit-at-home protests outside court dates are truly necessary.
But how can that be achieved?
I sincerely believe that once every week is too frequent and will not last, which will severely weaken IPOB control. I however equally believe that once a month will not be too much to ask if we all genuinely want Kanu to regain freedom.
Now, how do we achieve compliance without a head-on collision with the state governments? Simple – it has to be every first/last Saturday of the Month. That way, the state governments can look away while businesses can afford to stay shut just one day in a month. But IPOB must not use force to instill compliance. No more bloodshed and breakdown of security in the Southeast. They can organise peaceful demonstrations by just marching without any weapon along one chosen street in each state capital with placards saying, #FreeNnamdiKanuNow.
If IPOB lose the support of international community with unnecessary actions, that will only give Buhari the latitude to keep Kanu in illegal detention until he hands over. And depending on who takes over, even keep Kanu longer. This is a very critical moment in their struggle. Their leadership must not derail!