Biafra restoration requires a multifaceted approach, a London based international security/counterterrorism expert(name classified for professional reasons) once told me during an interesting conversation in late November 2017. Our insightful conversation was based on the bloody military raid at Nnamdi Kanu’s residence, and which its resultant led to the IPOB leader’s enforced disappearance. The submission of my learned friend was one I found slightly hard to assimilate. In other words, the postulation sounded contestable to me, maybe due to my IPOB deep-rooted sentimentalism; but as a lay man wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, and having found it needless to dabble into such a debate with an expert without veritable facts, I had to keep tight-lipped and absorb the tutorial.
The counter-terrorism Chief believes that due to the fact that IPOB is seemingly the only genuine group with sophisticated ideological framework towards Biafra restoration, It is nearly realistic for the Nigeria government to deal a heavy blow to the group and its ideology by simply infiltrating or getting rid of its leadership structure. According to him, this is the major reason why ‘Operation Python Dance’ was relaunched by Nigeria military in collaboration with relevant state actors- to get rid of Nnamdi Kanu. The Nigeria government believed that having Nnamdi Kanu(being the fulcrum and focal point of IPOB) out of the way would to a large extent douse, if not extinguish the multiplying tensions generated by IPOB agitations across the country.
My learned friend opined that the reason why the Nigeria government nearly succeeded in putting IPOB to bed was because, although different factions of Pro-Biafra do exist, none were genuine, powerful or radical enough to rival IPOB methodologies, as they failed to utilise the enabling environment provided by IPOB activities to enhance and push through their various versions of Biafra activism. An excerpt of his statement reads:
“I spent four years researching how movements grow, how they are sustained and how they collapse, but also how they succeed. Any movement that does not establish a strong rival faction in the beginning of the struggle never succeeds. Governments find it difficult if not impossible to control rival factions that have different ideas on how to achieve their objective. A disorganised movement with multiple leaders is a nightmare to states, an organised movement is good for states.
…In the case of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu is the only man who carries all the cross. To be honest , it was overwhelming for him.”
From all ramifications, it is very evident that what is needed to fast track the freedom of Biafra is not for IPOB to indulge in any form of coalition with any group, be it predecessors or splinter groups; rather what we urgently need is for each and every group that claims to propagate Biafra restoration gospel to scrutinise and sanitise itself of every greed, selfish interest and every sabotaging tendency that makes it susceptible to the influence of the inept oppressive state actors. As long as we’re all genuinely headed for the same destination, it shouldn’t be a source of concern, the different routes we tend to apply.
However, the problem is that most Pro-Biafra groups I’ve taken time to study are more occupied with rendering incessant attacks and destructive criticisms on IPOB’s modus operandi more than concentrating their efforts towards their own methodology of Biafra restoration. They end up deviating from freedom fighting and rapidly transforming into mere watchdogs driven by reckless antagonism.
If anyone feels too big to join or support IPOB or feels uncomfortable with rigid leadership system of IPOB with reference to ‘command and control’, the best thing for such a person to do is to go and form his/her own group of big and lawless men, and stop distracting IPOB with obscure coalition lobbying.
IPOB being the largest sustainable freedom fighting group in Africa, and by the virtue of its vision, mission and accomplishments, should be accorded the much needed reverence by other groups with parallel modus operandi, while IPOB on its own should be ready to accommodate dissent voices from other groups. Debates are best won on ground of superior argument, not on the altar of exchange of insults and vulgar languages.
In dealing with a multi-headed demon such as Nigeria, we need more versatile approach of dispensing our various ammunition. At the end of it all, we’ll come to the realisation of the fact that what we really need to achieve the freedom of Biafra is the seriousness and incorruptibility of different groups agitating for Biafra, not a coalition of unserious mindsets driven by ulterior motives and greed.