‘The joy of coming home, especially at those moments when the airplane was taking off at the origin and landing at the destination, knew no bounds. In between these moments, it was a matter of time – just six or so hours. After the air hostesses served the on board complimentary food and drinks, he began to fondle with the electronic knobs for a suitable music video channel that would lead him home. He tuned to several channels until he inadvertently stumbled on Ray Charles’ ‘I got a woman’ whereas he had Lucky Dube’s ‘Romeo’ in mind. It was when he was struggling with the indecision that he discovered the tiny letterings in the head rest opposite him. The letterings, arranged beautifully and diagonally to form a heart shape, read: Home is where the heart is.’’……….KOA…..Nigerian Author
To acquire Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s type of courage, you must eat at least three adult witches. Personally I didn’t take him serious, when I heard he had eaten ‘‘witches’’. I hoped, and rightly so, that the federal government clipped his wings, in whatever forms within law. It wasn’t possible for a Nigeria-mad citizen like me to keep quiet and watch Nnamdi Kanu disintegrate Nigeria, which we fondly call Naija. It couldn’t be possible. That was in 2015.
When late Professor (Mrs) Dora Nkem Akunyili – also known as – Madam Due process, who was then the minister of communication, tried to delete this pet name, Naija, most of us cursed her with the curse of leprosy, of chicken pox and of male dysentery. And how could she? A fine name, given to Nigeria by her downtrodden and true lovers, after the political class raped her to bleeding point? ‘‘Thunder fire Akunyili’’ rent the air. That was long time ago in 2010.
Most Nigerians resident in Nigeria can’t comprehend the sentiments [that] Nigerians in diaspora attach to Nigeria, the present circumstances notwithstanding. Our leading quotation may give us some hints.
What do Igbos truly want?
Nnamdi is not from here, as Igbos or Nigerians would say, when they want to describe an overwhelming phenomenon or ‘‘somebody’’. ‘‘Nnamdi is a courageous somebody’’, some would say. No one should envy him. He has got smouldering fire in his bare hands.
Mazi Nnamdi Kalu’s followership gained astronomical grounds, in shortest possible time. As we read and write, he can quite possibly hijack All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) party for instance, contest the gubernatorial elections in any eastern state and win it. He can, as well, enthrone his cronies as governors of each of the states that make up his world of Biafra. He can as well control the entire zone by appropriating its economy, appointing/recommending all its ministers, directors-general, etc. And once he achieves these, he can confiscate the entire area earmarked as Biafra. Guided and guarded by Oha-na-Eze Ndi-Igbo, he can bargain for the best possible outcome for Ndi-Igbo. Nnamdi wouldn’t do this.
In Igbo numerology, seven isn’t just a number. It is symbol of highest possible attainment. Nnamdi ate enough witches, seven of them.
Nnamdi never anticipated nor prepared this kind of huge followership, and that’s why, up till now, he has no position paper(s) on the Biafran agenda. He and his team have never issued any document(s), whereas many people expect some sort of documents – a working document. His only mantra is always, ‘‘Biafra or nothing’’.
If not for the so-called leadership vacuum in Igboland, Nnamdi wouldn’t enjoy the kind of prosperity he currently enjoys. Igbos are not callous, despite that their people, especially the youths, have been seriously marooned by the insensitive Nigerian nation state.
The insensitivity of the nation was even made more manifest a fortnight ago, when the nays had it on Devolution of Powers bill (restructuring bill) on the floor of the National Assembly. Nnamdi must have felt vindicated, especially as a college of House of Representatives from south couldn’t unsettle a coalition of its northern counterparts. The outcome was a coalition of the entire north against the disadvantaged south. Not even a single voice from the north voted for devolution.
North took advantage of the skewed balance, which was deliberately created northern Military Heads, who held Nigeria on her jugular for years. Northern representatives weren’t thoughtful to make their votes uneven, even for the sake of it, with the coloration to seem unbiased. They missed a chance to prove Nnamdi Kalu wrong.
As soon as the result of the voice vote of the House of Representatives was made known, Nnamdi quipped. He said, ‘‘I told Nnia they no gonna give him restructuring’’.
I am referring to Chief Nnia Nwodo – the President of Oha-na-Eze Ndi-Igbo – Nnamdi Kalu’s mate. Emphasis on ‘‘I told Nnia!’’ It’s so repugnant to Africa’s social life, especially now people accuse him of styling himself as both political and spiritual head of Ndi-Igbo. There’s this disturbing air around him, which keen Igbos are watching out.
Anyway, Nnamdi’s followers – those that didn’t eat witch, know his Achilles heel. Some of them now expect Igbo intellectuals to buy into Nnamdi’s dreams to streamline the process for a Biafran State. They expect the top hierarchy of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to liaise with Oha-na-Eze, so the Igbos can make the best out of the success of IPOB under Nnamdi’s leadership.
Those of them in this group of thought cite the Tuskegee, Alabama incident in the USA, when Rosa Parks set the centre stage for Martin Luther King Jnr in the fight for freedom. Obviously Rosa Parks had courage. She actually didn’t know where the resistance in the bus could lead her. Perhaps she prepared for the worst. But Martin Luther had the brain power to harness, shape and drive the resistance a little justifiable further.
Nnamdi wouldn’t allow this chance; instead he continues to eat his witches, without any formidable sense of direction. Some now compare the newfound hero to people such as Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr, and Malcom X. They say his non-violent agitation is akin to our own Mazi Mbonu Ojike – reputed for the ‘‘boycott all boycottables’’ mantra, ‘‘until every demand is met’’, when Nigerians, mainly Igbos, fought the colonial masters for the independence of Nigeria.
Anyway, the quest for a separate nation doesn’t come easy. Referendum, if there is need, will be on the table for a robust debate – Scottish style.
Recently, Mazi Nnamdi Kalu was said to have boasted that he would need a team of twenty erudite professors for a debate on Biafra. According to him, he would beat the team within twenty minutes on issues.
Thankfully Chief Joe Igbokwe, who already landed on the nickname Efulefu, accepted to stand in for the team of erudite professors. Guess what! Mazi Nnamdi Kalu was nowhere to be found, with all sorts of excuses from IPOB apologists.
This points to one thing. The intellectual part of IPOB is not active. There is no serious think-tank. But by and large, the debate will come. Like some non-Igbo Efulefus, Chief Joe Igbokwe loves Nigeria with the love as expressed in our lead quotation.
The bane of Biafra agitation is soon to come, especially as Nnamdi intensifies his outreach. The most nauseating is his outreach to pupils, who sing his praise as a god.
While growing up as a pupil, I can’t recall in living memory when Biafra was taught in school, as part of the curriculum. Instead we were told, as side stories, the exploits of Biafran soldiers and how saboteurs did us one. We were told beautiful works of the Caritas and the garri Gabon. We were also told how a certain Awolowo engineered the payment of £20 to Igbos, regardless of what they held in their bank accounts before the civil war.
I recall the story of how our closest neighbours in the present day Rivers State confiscated Igbo property in the name of abandoned property. In the contrary, surprisingly, we were told how northerners balanced the ledger for Igbo landlords in the north. Northerners, especially in Kano State, remitted to them all rents collated on their behalf as soon as they returned back to the north.
Like my family, most families kept photos of their relatives – many of them, who died or were still missing in action of the war.
These stories were some of the baby witches we were fed with, which gave us today’s courage. And I think such informal education, at family level, was enough to sustain the story. We also need our history, devoid of any form of obfuscation, in school.
However, direct in engagement with school pupils, at that age, on the devastation of the Biafran war, with raw data, is just harmful, for whatever the reason.
The exigency may exist now in order to garner larger followership, sustain hate and the agitation. But in future, it will be difficult to decommission them, when they have been filled with so much uncensored speeches of hate.
I repeat. If side stories, at family levels, touted our will and courage to this extent, how much then will raw hand outs? It was this kind of hand outs that made the Israelites, even after they reached their promised land, returned back to sort out the Amalekites in First Samuel 15: 1-35, for Amalekites misdemeanour when Israelites were on their journey in Exodus17: 8-16.
Biafran children may engage Nigerian children, many years after Biafra becomes a country, if they are sufficiently doped with hate.
It is in our collective interest that Nnamdi Kalu should leave the children out of this.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org