Anambra

By Dele Sobowale

‘Anambra election won’t hold if Kanu isn’t released – IPOB’.

The ultimatum has 

been issued by the 

Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) through its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, in Awka, Anambra State last weekend. As with most non-negotiable demands, it leaves the intended recipients with only two options: comply or get ready for conflict. There is only one recipient in this matter; and, it is not the parties IPOB has in mind. Kanu can only be released by the order of the court sitting on his case. Even President Buhari cannot now intervene directly in the case. The only way he can order Kanu’s release before November 6, 2021 will be for the Federal Government to discontinue its cases against Kanu. Anybody, including various political leaders and lawyers, expecting Buhari to pick up the phone and ask the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Malami, to discontinue the case so that elections will hold in Anambra must have rocks in the skull.

Let me be the first to disabuse the minds of those expecting Buhari to surrender that it will never happen – even if heavens fall. In fact, the threat issued has already foreclosed any possibility that Kanu will be released before November 6.

Here is why.

IPOB WAVING A RED FLAG

“Fool hardy man! Why provoke one whose temper is foul already?” – Homer, c 700 BC, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 205.

Reading and researching for the VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS took me into one of the old classics – THE ILLIAD. Long before the establishment of standing armies and soldiers, the great Greek philosopher/writer already painted a small group of human beings for whom violent conflict is as natural as fish swimming in water. For them might is right. Like my late friend, Joe Kowalski, when we roamed the Combat Zone of downtown Boston, USA, in the early 1970s, they believe that “there is no dispute that a punch in the nose cannot fix”. Issuing Joe an ultimatum is asking for an instant punch in the nose. Soldiers are trained for combat. Bloody civilians are advised to first choose other means of fighting them before embarking on armed conflict. Even then, it better be covert operations.

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Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) is no ordinary soldier. He was a combatant officer; and he is the Consoler-In-Chief, C-I-C, of a few battalions.  Admittedly, they have met their match in Boko Haram armed and supported by ISIS. But, they still represent the biggest armed group in West Africa. As Marshall Turene, 1611-1675, has observed from years of war experience,”God is always on the side of the big battalions.” Buhari will deploy as many soldiers as he needs to call the bluff of IPOB and ensure that voting takes place on November 6, 2021 in Anambra. The turnout might not be impressive; but the FG (for that matter no FG) will not back down.  The ball then shifts to IPOB’s court to decide what to do if voters come out; as many probably will.

POLITICIANS IN STRANGE ALLIANCE WITH FG

“Alliances are held together by fear; not by love” – Harold Macmillan,

Despite the superiority of FG’s fire power, there is still a bit of fear on government’s part. They don’t want to be provoked by IPOB into engaging in over-kill. They also are aware of the possibility of another long drawn out conflict with basically subversive elements. They might win the battle of November 6, but the war might last much longer. Too many casualties will result in unintended consequences; and the war might continue till 2023.

The FG has allies – the most dubious allies possible. Every politician in Anambra wants the election to hold because it will signify that they are still in control. So, they quietly support the FG. But, they also have joined Ohaneze and other Civil Society groups to demand that Kanu be released. They can’t have both. Without saying it loud, they prefer having election; because of the two cardinal repercussions of not voting. Declaration of a State of Emergency becomes a distinct possibility. All the money spent by candidates will be irretrievably lost. APGA, the ruling party in the state, stands to lose the only state it governs; and the party might go into oblivion.

There are several other reasons why politicians have a common interest in ensuring that voting takes place. They will do everything to ensure their supporters come out to vote in defiance of IPOB. That is the frightening part of this confrontation. The masses trooping out to vote could become canon-fodder for gunmen on every side of this complex palaver. From all indications, there is no way bloodshed can be averted. It is a matter of how much and who will be slaughtered. Anambra cannot escape the tragedy unfolding.

BLAME GAME WILL FOLLOW

“Martyrs do not build [anything]; they are the alibi or the mortar” – Albert Camus, 1903-1960, VBQ p 156.

When elephants fight, the grass and shrubs they trample upon get destroyed. This many-sided confrontation is a classic example of those which from time immemorial had produced uncountable deaths of innocent bystanders. Dr Akunyili’s murder is already following the usual pattern of the aftermath of the murder of an innocent person. The FG now alleges without proof that IPOB is responsible. IPOB claims that the authorities committed the high profile murder in order to give the movement a bad name. There are suggestions that fake drug dealers, who missed the wife, decided to take their revenge on the family by spoiling the joy of the post-humours award for Dora. Some have even hinted that the victim was a silent chieftain of one of the political parties vying for governorship; and that he was eliminated to weaken the party’s influence in a key constituency. All plausible theories; but only one fact exists. The man is gone; he will never return. And, most likely, like Bola Ige, we might never know who did it.

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