Some Igbo leaders and groups clamouring for Biafra Republic have declared that the struggle for a sovereign state is bigger than any individual, warning that the incarcerated leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mr. Nnamdi Kanu must not be allowed to die in detention like the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola. They spoke against recent concerns that if Kanu is not released urgently from custody, he may suffer the same fate as the late business mogul.
Leader of the Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Comrade Uchenna Madu said because there is no similarity between the case of Nnamdi Kanu and that of MKO Abiola, the IPOB boss must be released unconditionally.
According to him, “Nobody should see Nnamdi Kanu’s case as that of Abiola, the nature of these political matters are not the same. Nnamdi Kanu has the massive support of Ndi Biafra because his arrest and detention is linked to Biafra. He’s a prisoner of conscience and political detainee, he is not aspiring to be Nigeria President.
“Nnamdi Kanu will not die in detention like Abiola unless Nigeria wants to set itself on destructive fire. Abiola did not die in detention because of his political mandate, he died because of his pathological hatred on Ndigbo and Christians in general, Abiola boasted that he can rule Nigeria without Ndigbo. How can Nigeria progress economically, politically, spiritually, academically, technologically and socially without Ndigbo?
“MASSOB supports the position of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as the leader of IPOB, being the symbol of this latest development, his consent and approval must be considered first. MASSOB as a sister organization will always support every positive move that will effect the release of our comrade, Nnamdi Kanu, not all these confusing steps which some groups, even the defence counsels made which IPOB quickly condemned.
“ Concerning the actualization and restoration of our Biafra, MASSOB will never relent or succumb,.We shall continue to forge ahead with the spirit of consistency and commitment in accord with other Pro-Biafra groups with undented and committed spirit. Nnamdi Kanu will soon be released. Nigeria is tired and ashamed of his continued detention.
“MASSOB does not see Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as one who can betray his belief on Biafra, he is not a sell-out, his ideologies on Biafra may differ, he can never betray hundreds of Biafrans that died recently in the course of Biafra. Secondly, Biafra is not a religious faith that can be renounced or abandoned. Nobody can renounce Biafra, it is an identity, culture, tradition and existence of group of Nationalities, it’s not personal or individualistic.
“There are thousands of Biafra persons more determined, consistent, dangerous, focused, unshakable than Nnamdi Kanu, Uchenna Madu and other leading figures in Biafra struggle, Biafra is also bigger than all the leading figures put together. MASSOB is advising our sister organization to be cautious and watch out for some disgruntled and hypocritical persons who directly or indirectly engaged themselves or representing IPOB on the much published dialogue or frantic efforts for the release of Nnamdi Kanu.
“MASSOB acknowledges the overwhelming impacts the arrest and detention of Nnamdi Kanu brought to the Biafra actualization struggle, the peoples confidence, trust and hope criminally abused, jeopardized and bastardized by Ralph Uwazuruike was restored publicly by Nnamdi Kanu. It is childish for the Federal Government to expect Nnamdi Kanu to renounce Biafra, the fate of over fifty million people.
“Federal Government should stop playing to the gallery on the release of all Biafra agitators. MASSOB advises Buhari to save his battered Nigeria face from more diplomatic shame by allowing all Biafra detainees in Nigeria prisons in Kuje, Onitsha, Awka, Owerri etc to go.
“We shall continue to press for their release including the ultimate aim of Biafra actualization with non-violence. Nigeria will soon experience another dimension of non-violence struggle that will marvel them, soon the world will celebrate the downfall of the most corrupt country.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful said “ Nnamdi Kanu is not seeking rulership of Nigeria like Abiola that could reasonably bring him into conflict with entrenched Northern interest whose sole desire is to continue ruling Nigeria”
According to him, “What is baffling and a unique problem in Africa is the inability of conscientious people to rise up and insist on the truth. Why should the world not compel Buhari to obey a simple court order in a country that claims to know the meaning of the word ‘law’?
“Should we not be clamouring for adherence to the rule of law rather than encouraging dictatorship by insisting that there must be some kind of rejection of one’s identity in order to be spared. Nigerians who should know better that executive power lies with the President but not judicial or legislative. Both arms combined are infinitely more powerful than the presidency.
“Instead of our leader to renounce Biafra, he would renounce Nigeria publicly, mark our words. We are not after securing bail for our leader, we are after his freedom and freedom for the people of Biafra. Even a child born today knows that any attempt to tamper with Nnamdi Kanu’s life will bring the sort of calamity too horrible to imagine in Nigeria.
“For the sake of clarity, we must state that Abacha did not kill Abiola because they both were killed at roughly the same time. So, for anybody to come from anywhere to kill our leader must also make sure they kill Buhari too in order to have the MKO Abiola scenario replicated.
“One thing is certain, if anything happens to our leader, Somalia will be a paradise compared to what will happen in Nigeria. Some Nigerians with vested interest in the impoverishment of the masses think they know the might of Nnamdi Kanu but I can assure you they don’t. We are not asking for bail, we are demanding his immediate unconditional release as ordered by the Federal High Court Abuja.”
In his opinion, the Traditional Prime Minister of Awkuzu and a Colonel in the Biafran Army, Chief Michael Ozua Okoye appealed to the Federal Government to unconditionally release Kanu since two courts had earlier granted him bail.
He said that the last hope of the common man is the judiciary and in the case of Kanu, the courts had declared him free but the Federal Government has refused to obey the court orders, wondering why the present administration doesn’t obey the rule of law.
Okoye who is also the Traditional Prime Minister of Ndigbo (Ononwu Ndigbo) appealed to the international community, especially the United States of America, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, AU, UN and global human rights organizations to compel Nigerian government to obey the court order that granted Kanu bail.
He noted that the issue of MKO Abiola should not arise in the case of Kanu because they are two different things and should not be joined together, saying that Kanu should remain in detention until the Federal Government obeys court order and release him unconditionally.
According to him, “since the court of competent jurisdiction has granted him bail, Federal Government should swallow its pride and save its face and release him. How can they expect the young man to renounce Biafra before he would be released? It is not done. Biafra is bigger than the man, I know that God will give us Biafra at His own time.
“The struggle for Biafra started even before the young man was born and it will continue. Nobody can stop it until God’s appointed time. I don’t subscribe to war again, the civil war claimed so many lives and war is not the way out but I know that one day, God will give us Biafra. How can anyone renounce his name or origin? So, the Federal Government should do the needful and release the young man unconditionally to go and see his family.
“Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu fought for Biafra, I fought for Biafra, others also fought for Biafra, some of them are not alive and the struggle continues until God answers our prayers and give us our own state. The young man did not commit any crime for fighting for self-determination as enshrined in the UN charter of indigenous people. They should not allow the young man to die in detention.”
Speaking in the same vein, Chief Benjamin Duru, a chieftain of the United Progressives Party, UPP said that the reasons for which the late MKO Abiola was detained and later died in prison is different from Kanu’s case. He said that the continued detention of the IPOB leader has become an embarrassment to the nation after he has been granted bail by the courts.
Chief Duru insisted that any negotiation for the release of the IPOB leader must involve the leaders of Ndigbo and Ohanaze elders.
…More leaders react
Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, Deputy Secretary Igbo Leaders of Thought
The refusal to address the discontent in the land from the roots is the real problem because the injustice in the land fueled loss of faith by sections of Nigeria, which resulted to millions who believe Biafra is the only hope for them to live like human being with dignity.
It is strange that people pretend that they do not know that frustration from the current unworkable unitary structure has given birth to a feeling of total alienation by millions of Nigerians, who clearly will never believe in this Nigeria, as presently constituted.
If Government and MEND choose to entertain Nigerians about Kanu’s so called renunciation or not of Biafra, it means that Government tragically does not know that if Kanu renounces Biafra, his followers will kill him.
There are millions of people who believe that Biafra is their only hope to ever get justice. Kanu does not have any magic wand to order them to turn around and love Nigeria, the way Nigeria is presently structured. They will surely kill him and another leader will emerge. I have been shouting for decades to restructure Nigeria, they call me wailing wailer. I know the feeling of young Easterners for years now. I know the groups who mobilized for Biafra in the 70s and 80s in Aba. I know the groups who held meetings for Biafra long before 1999. The feeling is festered by injustice and alienation. After the Aba and Nkpor killings of February 9 and May 30th 2016, 99 per cent of the people became sympathetic to the boys so much so that prominent people now identify with them, unlike the ambivalence of the elite before the May 30th massacre.
Those who think that if Kanu renounces Biafra, then millions of Biafra agitators will automatically turn round 360 degrees and fall in love with Nigeria are naive, mischievous or both, it is strange government chooses not to listen to the voice of reason and restructure immediately.
Government chose to entertain the public, using MEND as government spoke persons. Nnamdi Kanu sent a delegation to me to tell me that he considers his death for freedom of his people from slavery as a great honour. He told me he would rather die than betray the struggle for freedom from slavery. Kanu is not the problem, the problem are those who designed Nigeria so that they would dominate others forever. Every effort made to enthrone a just and equitable structure that would give every section a sense of belonging is fiercely opposed by these oppressors.
As the declivity slide proceeds down the slope, the same oppressors choose to entertain the public through MEND. The truth is: the refusal to address the root causes of loss of faith in Nigeria by millions, while pretending to address the symptoms of the disease is the big issue in Nigeria.
Even your phone call to me on Nnamdi Kanu’s refusal to denounce Biafra, shows that, you probably do not know that the matter is not in Nnamdi Kanu’s hands. The matter is about the unwillingness of millions of Nigeria to continue crawling without hope in this unitary, unjust, unstable Nigeria.
Those who pretend that Nigeria will survive without restructuring are those making it impossible for Nigeria to survive. Nnamdi Kanu’s refusal to renounce Biafra is not the problem. The problem is the injustices, nepotism, oppression, marginalization, alienation and deliberate unworkable structure. Nnamdi Kanu and his followers merely found it difficult to hang the hopes of their children in Nigeria as presently structured. I advice the government to address the core issue at the root of disaffection in the land truthfully.
So many Nnamdi Kanus will emerge, some could take to the bush in a guerilla warfare. The solution lies in telling ourselves the truth and address without delay the structural defect that encourages corruption, indolence, poverty, oppression, ethnic hatred, impunity and arrested development. The clock is ticking, Nnmadi Kanu is not the problem. The problem is the blunt refusal by the slave master to enthrone equity and justice by restructuring Nigeria along the line of true fiscal federation built on regional autonomy. Any other scheme is only an attempt to postpone the evil day by prolonging the absurdities of present day unitary Nigeria. Nnamdi Kanu’s Biafra agitators are only a symptom of a bigger long stranding disease, four conferences from Aburi, Ghana to 2014 Confab has failed to resolve, because some powerful forces simply want to continue to dominate others.
Same problem in the Niger Delta, from Isaac Boroh, Ken Sarowiwa till date, the people desire some measure of control over their God given resources, through fiscal federalism. But the central government has been using a section of the elders to subvert and undermine the struggle each time. Few years after, another group of agitators will arise in the Niger Delta, the central government will smartly put together one Joshua Team or Moses Team to seduce and paralyze the agitation, only for the same scenario to repeat a few years later. Truth is: Only immediate restructuring of the polity will save Nigeria by enthroning lasting peace.
HRH, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo, Osuofia Nawfia
I will suggest kanu should be freed because he has a dual citizenship, so he may have to go back to Britain, whatever he wants to be doing there he can go ahead.
Asking Kanu to renounce Biafra is infringing on his fundamental human right and freedom of association. I thought they were charging him for treason, he has the right to be talking about Biafra but the thing is that he will not do anything violent to the federal government and to Nigeria as a whole. That is really infringement on his fundamental human rights and I won’t support him to take such unconditional release.
I will not advise him to take it, not because I am advocating for Biafra but I want the federal government to protect his fundamental human right. A lot of people are saying what they want, is not purely because of Biafra or anything, I want the country to start looking into the laws and obey the laws. They can release him and let him go back to Britain and do whatever he wants to do there.
Comrade Osita Obi, Coordinator, Igbo Patriots
The issue of Biafra is not what you give conditional or no conditional release. Biafra is a thing of the mind, is the Igbo man that is Biafra. Biafra will not die if the marginalization did not stop, there is no two ways about it. I am a Biafran , am an Igbo man, the consciousness is there and as long as what is happening presently continues, Biafra will still be there, unless the ill is addressed, there is no other way about it.
Biafra can not be renounced, there is no way it could, even if Nnamdi Kanu renounces Biafra today, it is still going to be there until the issues that brought about the clamour for Biafra is resolved. The system is against the Igbo man and as long as the system, the scheme of things in Nigeria is against Igbo man, the agitation for Biafra will still be there, there is nothing you can do about it.
Biafra is not about Nnamdi Kanu, it is a consciousness, it is beyond Nnamdi Kanu, it will be hypocritical for him to renounce it, the moment he renounces Biafra he is gone. So my advice to Nnamdi Kanu is that he cannot renounce Biafra.