By Denrele Animasaun
It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit -Noël Coward.
As the dust settled on the current communiqué from the proscribed self-styled IPOB generalissimo, Nnamdi Kanu, the insults and disagreements once again are resurfacing, like the mischievous Loki, Kanu has once again opened up the divisive scab. Agreed, he is not fully responsible (the fault line has always been there) but his rhetoric is a dog whistle for the impressionable and mischief makers.
Kanu sure knows how to make an appearance after a muted hiatus.
The trouble with Kanu is that, he cannot help it, he wants to feel relevant. He made all the noise and then head tail it at the first sight of trouble. He sold so many a dreams but did not whole heartedly subscribe to it.
When it came down to it, he bailed; he left town and the casualties of his incitement laid scattered (including his dog, Jack). Of course, conspiracy theories of his disappearance were rife that: that he was kidnapped, killed and so on.
The fact that there were no evidence to any of the conspiracy theories, but did not stop those wanting to make capital of the unrest and continue to fan the embers. Over the months however the voices of dissent grew quieter and people went back to their daily lives.
Crucially, there were no further skirmishes or reprisals of note once Kanu disappeared.
Until now when Kanu decided to broadcast his presence via his radio station that he is abroad. Like the master of hype that he is, he appeared by the Wailing Wall in Israel, festoon in all Israeli prayer: wearing kalir hat and wrapped up in a tallit (fringed four-cornered prayer shawl), you could be forgiven to think he has had undergone some religious conversion.
No, it is all an act to look and appear righteous; pious and holding a book while appear praying and holding on to the Wall. He ensured that he played to the full effect to the camera. This man is not modest; he was milking it for all its worth as he was addressed as the supreme leader of the Biafra.
He did not address the burning question of how and why he escaped or why he broke his bail conditions and the sureties of those who put up the bail money or those that died or incarcerated, protecting his ideals and rhetoric.
Why has he chosen to address his followers now and not before. Why the long silence and why had he not ease the worries of his wife, family and followers much earlier or was it right to let people think the worse while he made good his escape? Some cynic may think that he feared that he will be usurped as Atiku Abubakar named his running mate, Peter Obi, for the coming election? He may have feared he will no longer be relevant.
So Kanu wants us all to know: “I’m in Israel,” and “I have returned full-time and I am coming home and I will bring hell with me,” and he went on that his group is not interested in anything else other than for the government to set a date for a referendum: “We will not relent till referendum is conducted. We stand for the truth. It’s referendum or nothing else,” he noted.
“The zoo called Nigeria cannot jail me. I will fight till the last day. Binta Nyanko court failed to ask the Nigerian Army why they invaded my home. Nigerian court is a Kangaroo court. I did not jump bail, I left because the court failed to protect?
“I am coming back to Biafra land soon and I will bring hell with me, the way it has never been seen before,” funny that, one minute poverty and next he’ll (?) and brimstone. Kanu is like that – a one man army wrecking crew!
“When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool” -Chinua Achebe
From 2015 Biafra: It is good to Talk (2)
In the interview, Ojukwu said that “There is no doubt that some people want me to play the oracle, but I do not look like an oracle. I remember telling the people that I am not a politician, but it is their (Igbo) well-being in the North, West and elsewhere that forces me into their defence, but if they want me to stop they should withdraw and come to the East; and not every time you would shout and complain that you’ve been massacred, that their shops have been destroyed and looted you look for me. So, for as long as they are out there they need protection from here, which was what I said”
So here we are again, and some fractions are fanning the fire and the leftover embers, to reignite the resentments and anger for their own selfish agenda, mostly engineered by those who are goading others while staying in a safe distance to watch the young and impressionable people do their bidding, while destabilising the region. If Biafra is the end goal then, the implosion will ensue and it will not be Biafrans against Nigerians but Igbo against Igbo. This will be tragic and unfortunate.
From my archive 6 /8/17 see how Kanu runs his mouth
They say, be careful what you wish for, you might get it. The self-styled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, generalissimo Kanu, seems to be banging his drum loudly but the message is abstruse, it is unsure what beat is that the listeners are dancing to: is it for peace or war or a different beat all together?
Nonetheless, it is unclear if the message is in the drumming or the drummer. It is becoming hard to decipher so possibly everyone is dancing to the beat of this drummer differently.
He has poured scorn on every Nigerian; he calls them animals who live in a Zoo, and yet he brags of his ability to unite but he is alienating friends and kin. He should know that it is not what you are called but what you answer to. It really is not smart to name call. He has flip flopped on what the movement and cause is; a secession or establishing Biafra within Nigeria, okay, is it by peaceful means or by civil war as one minute he talks war, then the next he talks peace. Whatever it is, he talks a good game.
He claimed to have been offered the government of a Biafra Republic while in prison with only the five South East states as the component parts but he rejected it because, according to him, it did not constitute the complete Biafra, and told federal government, he wanted a Biafra with Rivers and Benue states. And also he was offered an oil block and a mansion in Dubai to renounce the cause but he insisted on the actualization of Biafra.
Since this cannot be verified, one can only assume how fantastical the spin is, to propel Kanu in a saint like aura; someone who was prepared to stay in captivity for the sake of the freedom of his people. So now, the people are in his debt for his selflessness and heroics. And the man will make sure they do not forget it and what stuck to beat the people at every given opportunity.
What a stroke of genius but, the trouble with this tall tale is Rivers, Delta and Benue states aren’t keen to be part of the Biafra Republic. So where does it leave Emperor Kanu?
But of course, Kanu can do the impossible: he said that he would ensure that Ohanaeze Ndigbo ceased to exist on the 19th of November 2017. Now that is talking big, real big talk, very braggadocios and only time will tell if it is only talk or the man indeed can walk the talk.
This charismatic generalissimo should know many are hanging on to his every word as gospel, some are sure this is the second coming while others merely shrug their shoulders, roll their eyes and take what he says with a bucket of salt.
Seriously, you don’t insult a whole nation then want to be invited to sit at the table and break bread. This man is revelling in his own hype and all the adulation that stokes his ever expanding ego, he has to understand with power comes great responsibility Kanu said; “We don’t fear our enemies. That is why I will go to Lagos to preach this gospel. I will do it”.
Kanu, please come to Lagos. Igbos have lived, thrived and multiply in Lagos and they are Lagosians and proudly so. For those who wish to divide, they must be ready to face a united front. People have lived and intermarried, form partnership and friendship for decades and Kanu wants to undo that because he says he can?