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[Opinion] NIGERIA, NNAMDI KANU AND OTHER MATTERS

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The story of the abduction, forcible extradition and re-arraignment of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the Nigerian government is no longer news. What is news is the reaction of Nigerian government that is exulting in its “conquest” as if it has achieved an enviable feat. Nations are building their people, repositioning for the future. Even African countries like Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and others are leveraging on technology and global interconnectivity to advance the interest of their citizens but Nigerian government’s main pre-occupation is how to muzzle opposition, suppress civil advocacy and advance primordial interest. While countries plan for the future of their people, the APC government concern is how to institutionalize tyranny by turning the country into a one-party state, dissipate energy, reveling in the news of renegades and political jobbers defecting to APC. Nigeria is buffeted by countless number of problems occasioned by the swingeing policies of the current regime. Corruption, mediocrity, nepotism, insecurity, impunity etc have been elevated to the status national ethos.

The government is hobnobbing, pampering, patronizing and sheltering those who posed real threat to national security while intimidating, harassing and even massacring those on lawful agitations. The current regime is notorious for double standard, unfairness and apartheid policies. It is grave injustice to molest Nnamdi Kalu and allow the killer herdsmen roam freely. It is injustice in the extreme to harass Nnamdi Kalu while patronizing BokoHaram terrorists. It is miscarriage of justice in egregious degree by the government to arraign Nnamdi Kalu while the same government negotiates and pay ransom to the dare-devil bandits. Indeed, it is criminal to allow a person like Sheik Gumi, who has cut the un-enviable reputation as the amicus curiae of the Northern bandits, the Miyetti Allah officials and patrons who have openly claimed responsibility for killings within the country and have threatened more blood and war if other peoples’ land is not made available for their nefarious activities, freedom while keeping lawful agitators like Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in incarceration. It is not only unfair but cruel, unjust and wicked to openly and brazenly use state power in the manner that it is being done in the present regime.

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Nnamdi Kanu is no threat to anyone but autocrats, traitors, and fundamentalists and their agents who thrive on the misfortune of the lopsided and oppressive Nigerian system controlled by drones and anarchists. If there are people that must stand trial, they are the bandits, their sponsors, the murderous herdsmen, their patrons and the terrorists. Thus, kidnapping Nnamdi Kanu without addressing the issues raised by the agitators is tantamount to chasing shadows. Yes, abducting Nnamdi Kanu by Nigerian government will never stem the tide of agitation for self-determination but rather will make the agitators more defiant and strengthen their resolve to fight harder. When Obasanjo destroyed Odi in 1999 thinking that by so doing he will intimidate the “Resource Control” agitators, he was shocked that his ill-conceived action snowballed into a more violent and aggressive agitation that gave rise to militancy in the Niger Delta as we have it today. So, by abducting Nnamdi Kalu and illegally putting him on trial, the government has inadvertently placed the separatist agitation on a global spotlight once again. And without doubt, it is going to attract much more unsavory anticipated consequences.

Another critical issue here is the way Nnamdi Kanu was smuggled or bundled back into Nigeria. It is crystal clear that due process was not followed and that in itself is criminal. Already, Britain has denied involvement in the abduction saga and so did Kenya through its embassy in Nigeria. It is possible that Nnamdi Kanu had been abducted in the manner Buhari military government had attempted to kidnap Umaru Dikko from England in 1984. If the government feels Mazi Nnamdi Kanu committed the crimes for which he is being accused, they should have followed due process to extradite him.

Without doubt, Nnamdi Kalu’s saga is a shame of a nation that thrives on injustice; that revels on inanities. That the government has decided to keep mum in the manner in which Nnamdi Kanu was abducted and forcibly brought back into the country shows the crude and unorthodox method employed in the process. The reference to Interpol in the government narrative is clearly name-dropping. Why would the Interpol be involved in such unorthodox rubbish that violates international convention? I know the government may have patronized mercenaries as it notorious for being associated with bandits and renegades. By this, the Buhari government has exposed Nigeria again to ridicule in the comity of Nations. It has portrayed Nigeria as a lawless roguish country that has no regard for human rights and international conventions. It has exposed the country Nigeria ignominiously as a pariah state, a collapsed state waiting to be dismembered.

As it stands, the country is grossly mismanaged but some people seem not to care. There is a clamant need to restructure the country or unbundle it. It is not a crime to do that. Some of our founding fathers had canvassed it in the past. Self-determination or separatist agitation is not a crime. What is a crime is the government romance with terrorist, negotiating and funding bandits while dehumanizing and killing hapless agitators. At the 1954 Lyttleton Constitutional Conference, it is on record that Awolowo’s proposal for inclusion of secession into Nigerian Constitution was endorsed by the then Sardauna of Sokoto Ahmadu Bello and the Northern delegates. And throughout the colonial era the North has always wanted secession and had used it as a negotiation tool and even during the July, 1966 counter coup, the North battle cry was “araba” so why is it now time to criminalize secession. A call for secession is not a call for war as erroneously assumed by mischief makers but a call for negotiation.

Obviously, Nnamdi Kanu is not the problem of Nigeria. What is Nnamdi Kanu asking for? What is wrong in asking for referendum? The problem of Nigeria is the dysfunctional leadership foisted on the nation by the APC-led federal government that has failed woefully that listen to the voice of reason. The problem of Nigeria is the divisive tendencies of the President, his oppressive, visionless, and obnoxious and revanchist policies; who has turned blind eye to the real issues, closed his ears to the voice calling for restructuring but mindlessly pursued his parochial agenda. The only person stoking the fire of separatist agitation in Nigeria at present is the president himself. His hate action, body language and careless utterances are responsible for the upsurge in separatist agitations. Thus, fighting Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is like chasing shadow rather than the substance. Nnamdi Kanu is the product of the inherent contradictions in the Nigerian state where injustice as accepted as the norm. No matter what is done to Kanu, more Namdi Kanus will emerge as long as the issues of injustice in the land are not frontally addressed. Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB from all intents and purposes are not terrorists. Nigerians know who the terrorists are. BokoHaram, Bandits, Fulani Herdsmen who have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Nigerians are the real terrorists but these bunch of savages enjoy presidential patronage and immunity while those on lawful agitation are hounded and branded as terrorists.

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Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was a relatively unknown figure in Nigeria until 2015 when the President who characteristically detests opposition and civil advocacy, arrested him, upon being sworn in as civilian president. In 2016 following general outcry, Nnamdi Kanu was released through a ridiculous bail condition. And shortly after Buhari returned from his 105 days medical trip abroad sent a whole battalion of Nigerian army to the home of Kanu in Afraukwu Umuahia in the ill-conceived Operation Python 2. Kanu narrowly escaped death but his parents and some other innocent citizens died in the ill-conceived operation. And shortly after there was a dubious declaration that IPOB is a terrorist organization to the amazement of all. They said he jumped bail when he fled from the attack on his home by the minion of the government that left many hapless innocent citizens dead. And from the way the government is going about it, it is clear that Nnamdi Kanu will never get justice in Nigeria. The Nigeria judicial process and institutions have been bastardized and compromised. Recall that during his first incarceration, the government wanted to do secret trial and bizarrely admit masked witnesses until people protested. If the government wants fairness or justice they should refer Nnamdi Kanu to ICC for trial or free him and negotiate with him accordingly.
The President is obviously misusing our national security apparatus just as he did with the Nigeria Security Organization (NSO) between 1984 and 1985 before he was ignominiously shooed out of office during his first misadventure in government as military dictator. Now that he has successfully abducted Nnamdi Kanu and emboldened by the responses from depraved and conscienceless renegades have gone ahead to invade the home of Sunday Igboho and if he is not checked the raid of innocent citizens whose only crime is to oppose his primordial agenda would continue.

Since the inception of Buhari administration, the South East Region, the homeland of Ndigbo has been treated like an occupied territory. The government has left the war-torn North and sent soldiers to harass those in South East through its ill-conceived Operation Python Dance and other repressive measures and to incriminate IPOB the government declared war on region. It is reported that government security operatives have going from house to house searching and killing young men in the name of searching for IPOB members. It is obvious that so many atrocious things were committed by government operatives and blamed on IPOB for daring to form a security network to check the incursion and the menace of the Fulani herdsmen on people of South East. Many of these blind supporters of injustice knew these but chose to ignore them. Indeed, Nigeria will never get better as long as their people willing to crucify Jesus and spare Barabbas.

And strangely enough, while some well-meaning individuals and concerned observers are appalled by the roguish manner in which Nnamdi Kanu was brought back into the country, some obviously depraved mind are gloating at the abduction of an agitator by an inept regime. What a country! I was appalled that some people reacted gloatingly to the news as if the arrest of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is the panacea to the nation’s woes. This group is majorly the haters; people with warped sense of justice. They are those who hate others for no justifiable reasons. Many Nigerians have had their sense of judgment beclouded by hatred handed down through skewed narratives and negative ethnic profiling. Great minds do not hate people; they hate evil—injustice, oppression, nepotism, corruption among other vices. But in Nigeria because of prejudice, some people hate others and defend injustice.
Another group of people who are reveling at the news of the abduction of Nnamdi Kanu are the hypocrites. This group of people knows the truth but their minds are crowded by personal interest. These are majorly those benefitting from the system and would not want to lose their positions. They would prefer Barabbas to Jesus as long as their interests are served. How can one be proud of a country that has no regard to human rights, no regard for merit, no regard for equity, fairness and justice? How can one be proud of a government that is so openly discriminatory, divisive and revanchist in its actions and policies?

Again, you have the ignorant and confused commentators who have no mind of their own but swings to wherever their opinion leaders go. They are usually confused by propaganda and skewed narratives from the media. These are the hear-say analysts, the rumor-mongers and the ignorant spin doctors. Moreover, you have the fearful commentators who may or may not know the truth but comment in hushed tone for fear of victimization. Their primary concern is protecting what they think they have—their wealth, freedom, life etc. They comment to please the “significant others” as psychologists would put it. They don’t care what happens so long as what they think is their personal possession is safe. To them, peace is defined only in terms of their personal possession and any one that will dare do anything that will threaten what they think is theirs no matter how just the action may be is seen as a trouble-maker or enemy.

I have to state it without equivocation that as long as there are those willing to support injustice for parochial reasons Nigeria cohesion as nation will remain elusive. Nations are not built on propaganda, injustice and arm-twisting. Without justice, fairness and meritocracy, Nigeria unity can never be attained and anyone thinking otherwise is delusional. How long can Nigeria continue to footle, and rootle in a vicious circle while allowing anarchists ride roughshod on all of us.

However it is interesting to note that despite all these, we have the informed and conscientious commentators who comment dispassionately and objectively. And, the cheery news is that prominent citizens and well-meaning Nigerians have spoken and advised the federal government to apply caution in handling the case. Thanks to information technology and social media the whole truth must be unearthed and placed in public view. History beckons, the world is watching!

Author Gozie Irogboli


Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

 

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