February 06 2024 | Radio Biafra
For starters, Civil disobedience is a powerful, non-violent form of protest, and has for long in modern history till date been a method utilized by oppressed people or dissidents seeking to enhance or bring about a radical, substantial socio-political change in a given society.
It serves as a means to amplify the voices of the oppressed, challenging existing oppressive norms instituted by the oppressors and demanding justice. In the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement, civil disobedience has served as a crucial, potential tool in their struggle for Self-determination, justice, and freedom.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the IPOB movement, whom champions the struggle for the self-determination of the Biafran people – domiciled in the Eastern part of Nigeria, has been facing allegations and charges by the Nigerian state, thus it has become imperative to look into the nature, intentions and overall philosophy behind his agitation for Biafra independence, how plausible and result yielding it has been over the years.
Drawing divine guidance from style of productive activism of prominent figures like Mahatma Gandhi – the father of India Independence from colonial rule, and Late Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated and employed civil disobedience as a viable technique to confront the societal segregationally injustices being meted against the Black folks in the United States during his time. It becomes apparent that Kanu’s style of activism from inception, align and draws immense inspiration from the principles of peaceful and unconventional resistance.
In embracing civil disobedience, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB movement brought to attention of the global community, the maltreatment and marginalization of the Biafran people and dispelled the consciously engineered misinformation and propaganda; that the Biafran people or even a disproportionate section of them are troublemakers, rebels and irredentists who perpetually deserves to be occupied, surveilled and marginalized by the celestial Federal government of Nigeria and its security apparatus.
The echoes and howls of historical century-long emasculation of the people of Eastern Nigeria (Biafrans) resonates even till this very moment, mirroring the struggles faced by the IPOB movement whose leader is still being illegally detained in the Nigerian Department of States Services solitary confinement cell – after he was kidnapped and extraordinarily renditioned from Kenya nearly three years ago, and even after the Nigerian Supreme Court of Appeal ordered his unconditional discharge and acquittal, he has continued to be arbitrarily detained and incarcerated by the Nigerian state.
The beauty of civil disobedience lies in its ability to tactically disrupt the status quo, compel the oppressors to review its tyrannous policies, and consider the plausible demands of the marginalized. And this has, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB movement, maximized in the struggle for liberation and confrontation with the Nigerian state.
It is crucial to emphasize that civil disobedience is not a crime in itself rather a retaliatory or reactive response to seeming and obtained injustice. It is a provisional pedigree of the system, used to fight the oppressive nature of the same system.
Although Kanu’s actions and activism may periodically be viewed by even core Nigerian nationalists as a call for constitutional and legal reforms within the Nigerian context, yet agitations and demands goes beyond that. His call for a United Nations supervised referendum for the people of Eastern Nigeria, to determine if they wish to continue in the unconsented British amalgamated Nigeria, remains indispensable, even while in shackles.
However, the complexities of Kanu’s current ordeal highlights the misinterpretation and misconception of the principle of civil disobedience in a democratic setting, by the Federal government who have overtime levied trumped up terror charges against him and launched serial extrajudicial crackdown on the IPOB movement and its sympathizers.
The draconian measures deployed by the Nigeria government against Kanu and that of the movement he leads raises serious question about the intolerance of the government for dispensation of justice, equity and fairness – which are the basic principles of universal Human and People’s right.
As the Biafran people ultimately rallies behind Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB movement, the broader conversation shifts towards examining the role, civil disobedience has played in contemporary struggles for self-determination and if there is a need for a review and improvising of strategy to achieve the desired goal, which is Freedom!
Nonetheless, civil disobedience has undoubtedly served as potential tool in the IPOB-Biafra struggle, and has dispelled uninformed notions not only about the personalities of people of the East, in the eyes of the world. But, also the legitimacy of their struggle and resistance against oppression and their consistency and resoluteness to live free, as every other nation and people around the world.
Source: Eastern Pilot
For: Radio Biafra Media