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NDIGBO: Of toddler-governors and a self-acclaimed Supreme Leader



NDIGBO: Of toddler-governors and a self-acclaimed Supreme Leader

By Samuel Ibemere…

I have laughed ceaselessly since the image for this write-up crept up. All I hoped for when I shared the story idea with our budding creative guy was an illustration of an innocuous assembly of the five South-East governors. I didn’t tell him to put them in diapers, I swear. This was entirely his idea, and I have said to him, ‘Bros, my hand no dey o!

But here I am, stuck with a picture that more than tells the story of the crawling state of affairs in Kanu’s dream country, Biafra. The grin on my face returns each time a painting of the toddler-governors invades my subconscious. Same grin breaks into laughter  when Hezekiah, that is his name, tries to find justification for the mischief he calls a caricature.
“Oga, dis na special cartoon o. Na Fani Kayode give me the inspiration. Him describe Rochas Okorocha as diaper-wearing governor. Dat one means say, the man na pipkin where elders dem gather.
“Shebi you talk say you wan discuss how that boy, Nnamdi Kanu, take make the governors of South-East dey wee wee for pant. Oga, na so I take join other governors for the matter o. No vex,” he explained.
“Shoo, how you go suggest say Okorocha and others be small boy where Kanu dey? Ok naa.

“If FFK dey give you inspiration for drawing, make e end there, bro. I no too trust the guy. Him dey yarn anyhow,” I grudgingly conceded.

For all my doubts, critics think the illustration couldn’t  have been more apt. A new god has emerged to be worshipped in the South-East! He is the Messiah of a rising band of angry youths who allege that the Nigerian state offers no hope of any meaningful human development. Draped in colours of the rising sun, they demand a new nation called Biafra which boundary, at the moment, appears ill-defined, even to its future neighbours.

Kanu is the new God! He already lays claim to the all-conquering title of Supreme Leader. He swears by the gods of the land that he had been so anointed. His army of die-hard supporters are too fired up to query where and when the installation was done. Members of his dream team are only left to imagination. For all they care, their leader is infallible, and can rule by decrees. He does no wrong even when he soaks his speeches  with hate and describes people with divergent opinions as ‘animals’ fit for the ‘zoo’.

Kanu is the Chief Priest of a crest-fallen generation who believe that a new Biafra would be a repository of miracles and wonder. He leaves adherents in no doubt of the superiority of his own deity. He tells hungry worshippers that they are Jews on a mission and has since set up a shrine in his homestead to lead believers to the revered land of promise. His words cannot return void. He decrees that there will be no election in Anambra except there is a referendum on Biafra. But he forecloses that Nigeria is yet a sovereign with all the appurtenances of power and resources to spare.
There’s no denying the high-pitch political fever that has gripped the entire Igbo land. There is a new kid on the block. It would be foolhardy to pretend that Kanu does not matter in the power equation of this country anymore. His seeming crude approach to political contest not withstanding, he has got the right numbers to bandy around. No member of the Igbo establishment, perhaps, enjoys the kind of following Kanu has at the moment. He could trade the numbers for a fortune and this is why he is quietly courted.
Politics is a game of numbers, folks! The current leadership in Igboland is very jittery. From Okorocha in Imo to Umahi in far flung Ebonyi, the jitters explain the hurried midnight meeting of five South-East governors in Abakaliki on Sunday. They preached unity but were roundly denounced by pro- Biafra agitators who seem bent on a suicidal mission to separate from Nigeria.

The current political dilemma in Igbo land must, therefore, be seen for what it is. It is primarily the outcome of a colossal failure on the part of the establishment across the region to correctly read, predict and preempt the mood of the frustrated teeming youths who are in want of efficient leadership to harness and deploy resources for the greatest good.


The governors of the South- East, past and present, must hide their heads in shame. They must take responsibility for creating the Kanu monster that is threatening the stability of the entire country. Bare-faced looting of meagre state resources, boot-licking, nepotism, mal-administration, criminal neglect of both the young and elderly, enthronement of cronyism and corruption are some of the igniting factors for Kanu’s rise to power.


In Okorocha’s Imo, for instance, the governor shamelessly admits that his wife, Nneoma, oversees activities in three government ministries, including the Amnesty Programme with budgets running into billions of Naira. Elsewhere, it has become common knowledge that his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, is being schemed to succeed his father-in-law, Okorocha, in two years time. Who keeps shut in the face of such abuse of power?


The story out of Umahi’s Ebonyi is even more disturbing. The governor unwittingly tells all and sundry that he has no ideas of what it means to harness the potential of his domain, a State so blessed with agrarian resources.  Or, what would you make of a man whose only reason for wanting to opt out of any restructuring or Biafra conversation is because he believes that Ebonyi is too economically disadvantaged to join the fray.

The toddler governors allowed the perceived injury done to Ndigbo to fester. They lack solid balls of the sort that Kanu is brandishing everywhere. They allowed themselves to become sitting targets because of short term gains that mattered to just a small clique of crumb-seeking errand boys. They failed to raise their voices when it was most expedient and must now clutch on Kanu’s aprons to seek future relevance.

The other salient point that must be noted is that the emergence of a powerful new force in Kanu is a desperate attempt to challenge the status quo that is largely perceived as having seriously marginalized the region and deprived its people of access to power at the centre.


If later day revelations are to be believed, and this has allegedly been reinforced by ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, the sustained northern pursuit of tagging Ndigbo as a group of people never to be trusted with power does more to challenge the hypocritical posturing of a country supposedly founded on equity, fairness and justice.


The Kanu enigma is real but this could evaporate as quickly as it came. The defined path to his Biafra dream looks just as clumsy as it is hazy. I have searched everywhere for the Igbo intelligentsia and still can’t locate them in the horizon. Where is the road map for this journey to nationhood? This whole project seems to be about the Supreme Leader, Chief Priest and Messiah, all rolled up into one individual, Kanu!

The Afara-born rebel may be basking in the sun but he must choose not to play Emperor and god if this struggle is to endure or last.


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Click to comment


  1. Balarabe musa

    July 4, 2017 at 6:20 am

    I duff cap for Ripples Nigeria ! Funny images to depict these Eastern governors and to the writer , thanks for not shying away from the truth that the Biafra agitation is just a mirage.


      July 4, 2017 at 6:37 am

      Onyiara, you be fool. So I no go reply your folly

    • yanju omotodun

      July 4, 2017 at 6:51 am

      Laugh no fit kill me. This Ripples sef, na wa o


    July 4, 2017 at 6:36 am

    To hell with the writer of this piece. He is mad because he knows not what he is saying. Biafra is not hazy in any way, it is as clear as a crystal. Kanu enigma will not evaporate because we are good to go.

    • yanju omotodun

      July 4, 2017 at 6:52 am

      It’s you that will go to hell. After all the writer is an igbo from his name. He is just telling you people the truth without sentiment. Biafra is not here on earth probably in heaven

  3. O Chriso

    July 4, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Oga Sam Ibemere, more ink to your pen. Shame to the governors of the South East states. Enjoying themselves, looting and buying properties everywhere. Imagine, a State like Abia owing salaries for 6 months now despite monthly allocations from the centre. What we have is a failed leadership in the South East. This is why the youths of the zone have laid their hope on the Supreme leader, Chief priest and Messiah, Nnamdi Kanu.

  4. Animashaun Ayodeji

    July 4, 2017 at 9:10 am

    kanu as he is now, is more stronger than the useless governors elected into post by the masses of their states, but they’ve allowed Kanu “overthrown” all of the money while they are just serving as figures heads!

  5. Abeni Adebisi

    July 4, 2017 at 9:16 am

    We need to get things clear, these governors in diapers are working hand in hand with their senior man, Kanu! They may be pretending to be against Biafra, but na lie!

  6. Anita Kingsley

    July 4, 2017 at 9:34 am

    What nonsense is this person saying? So many people that have been writing nonsense about our messiah, Kanu who has come to deliver us from the evil called Nigeria will find theirselves to blame by the time Biafra becomes a reality.

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