Among all these voices demanding change in Nigeria, the loudest remains that of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. They have been killed for their quest for Biafra. They have matched one million men on the streets to demand a better Nigeria, a better Africa. They have chosen civil disobedience as their weapon, and that has gained them recognition among the international community. Their ideology of a free Biafran state, would return Nigeria back to the drawing board and avert the impending doom.
Can Nnamdi Kanu’s Quest for Biafra Save Nigeria From Doom? Is Nigeria headed towards doom? These important questions are what this article seeks to answer. It also leaves room for other opinions. The name Nnamdi Kanu is not one that is new to most people in Africa and the world at large. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as he is called by his IPOB followers, can be said to be one of the greatest agitators for freedom in Africa. His agitation for a peaceful secession of Biafra has gained him and IPOB a level of international respect and recognition.
Biafra, on the other hand, remains a name and event that can’t be erased from the minds of many in the world. Nigeria’s history can never be completely told without the mention of Biafra – particularly the Nigerian-Biafran war of 1967-1970. In 1967, a civil war broke out between The Old Eastern Nigeria and the rest of the country. The Old Eastern Nigeria took Biafra as the name of their new state. This new state was led by Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
History will recall that the people of the old eastern Nigeria, were killed in their thousands in 1966, after a coup and a counter coup. The majority of them were from the Igbo tribe. This mass killings convinced the Igbo that they were not wanted in Nigeria. The war which started in 1967, lasted for three years, and ended in 1970. The war till today remains one of the greatest accounts of genocide in Africa.
After the war, the Igbo continued to be subjugated, economically, politically and otherwise. But majority of the Igbo concealed their war scars and integrated back into Nigeria. One could say that they Suffered in silence. They suffered the lack of infrastructural development among many other things.
After over 50years after the war, nothing had really changed for them. If you put aside their shear will to be successful, their region would actually still look poor and backwards. But the Igbo and their brothers went to work to build wealth for themselves again. History records that those who had their money in Naira, were given only 20 pounds by the Nigerian government, no matter how large your savings were.
After the war ended, Nigeria went from one Military regime to the other. And out of fear and “defeat syndrome” the Igbo never spoke of Biafra again. But in 1999, the quest for a new Biafran state was started by a man called Uwazurike. His group was called MASSOB. He protested the continuous killing of Igbo in the North. Uwazurike agitation has died down considerably. And that is a topic for another day.
Before his arrest on 18th, October 2015, by the Nigerian DSS, Nnamdi Kanu had actively campaigned for the secession of Biafra, from London. He was the major voice of Radio Biafra. Millions of Ndi Igbo tuned in daily to listen to his ideology and teachings. It is believed that he opened the eyes of millions of Ndi Igbo to the rights they should be enjoying as citizens of a country. Many loved what he was saying, and followed him. That followership is what resulted in the number of IPOB protesters Nigerians often see on the streets.
The agitation for Biafra by IPOB and majority of the Igbo reached a boiling point on the September 14, 2017. On that day, the Nigerian armed forces attacked Nnamdi Kanu in his father’s compound, in Afaraukwu, Abia state. After what seemed like the allied forces invading Germany, the soldiers failed in their attempt to silence him. It was reported that many of his followers lost their lives while defending his home. Others lost their lives as a result of clamp down by the armed forces. This show of force was called the python dance.
For one year, it seemed like he had been eliminated during the renowned python dance. But Nnamdi Kanu’s speech from Israel on Friday, October 20, 2018, brought great joy to his followers worldwide. And ever since that day, his gospel about Biafra freedom has been as unshakable as it was before his disappearance.
Ever since Nnamdi Kanu became popular with his campaign for a Biafran state, the nation has been divided in opinions and ideology. Many in the South support his ideologies, while others in the North and also the South do not. He is accused of plotting to divide Nigeria. He is seen as a threat to Nigeria’s sovereignty.
But then, the question remains: Has Nigeria’s sovereignty being beneficial to those who call themselves Nigerians since 1960?
The answer is No!!!
When you look closely at Nigeria, from a non-sentimental point of view, one would agree that things are falling apart. A country that once held so much promise is now the object of laughter. A country which calls herself the giant of Africa currently has over 16,300 of its citizens suffering in prisons in other countries. In May, 2017, it was reported that 10,000 Nigerians died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea and deserts. They died running away from Nigeria – a country that was meant to take care of their social and economic needs.
Nigeria can be said to be a shadow of its former self, though that glory was short lived. There now exists a clear leadership failure and carelessness. And the worst is that this carelessness has become a habit. The people don’t trust their leaders and the leaders don’t care. The constitution is a sham and does not seek justice for all component parts of Nigeria.
Crude oil is drawn from the Southern part and used to generate revenue for the government. But the very place that this crude oil is gotten from is abandoned. Research shows that the Niger Delta has some of the worst slums in Southern Nigeria. How do you expect the militants not to rise and demand their rights? It then seems like without force or violence, the political elite will never listen to the people.
Many Nigerians are tired of the status quo. They are demanding that the constitution be reviewed and the country restructured. The Igbo on the other hand, together with IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu, are asking that Nigeria grant them independence. The Yoruba are saying that if the Igbo leave Nigeria, that they too would leave for their Oduduwa republic. It seems as though it is only the Hausa-Fulani that loves Nigeria as it is presently run.
Statistically speaking, 70% of Nigerians are fed up with the type of federalism being operated. They say there is too much power at the centre, Abuja. They want a restructured Nigeria, where the states and regions would have power over their resources. But this has been met with strong defiance by the political elites – those who benefit from the Nigerian system of thievery called Federalism.
Nigeria is headed towards doom. And it’s only a matter of time before the time bomb explodes. Among all these voices demanding change in Nigeria, the loudest, remains that of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. They have been killed for their quest for Biafra. IPOB have matched one million men on the streets to demand a better Nigeria, a better Africa. They have chosen civil disobedience as their weapon, and that has gained the recognition among the international community. Their ideology of a free Biafran state, would return Nigeria back to the drawing board and avert the impending doom.
It is believed that Nigeria can only get better, if the regions are returned to what they were at independence. Or better still made independent nations. And right now, nobody has a clear-cut strategy to that division like Nnamdi Kanu. Nobody preaches that gospel more than Nnamdi Kanu.
So, when asked if the Biafran agitation can save Nigeria from the impending doom, a sincere Nigerian’s answer should be at resounding YES!
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media