Opinion: How Nnamdi Kanu can achieve his Biafra without bloodshed
Editor’s note: The agitation for Biafra championed by Nnamdi Kanu has sparked social unrest in some parts of the country especially in the south east.
In this opinion by Chief Anthony Eshemokhai, he argues that while he subscribes to the call for One Nigeria, the agitation for Biafra must be followed democratically without shedding blood of innocent people.
Nnamdi Kanu has a superb opportunity to write his name in gold, if only he knows how to go about actualizing a country called Biafra without shedding blood. Is that actually achievable? Yes. Will it be an easy walk down? Never!
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First thing is to understand the Nigerian state as it is now and the factors against achieving a Biafran nation. No one should delude his or herself. The present constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria only recognize the geographical entity as it is and does not give room to any section of the country breaking away on their own. The president and commander in chief who took an oath on assumption of office to defend the country will never allow that. He is thus empowered by the constitution to deploy whatever force to keep the country united. Does that send a message to war mongers? But the question agitating the minds of many is, must we result to war? The thought alone sends cold shivers down my spine. I shudder at the thought of able bodied young men that will be cut down in their prime. I quiver at the thought of children that will be orphaned and women that will be widowed. I quake at the thought of neighbours and brothers now turning arms against themselves; The hunger and starvation; The girls and women that will be raped; The humanitarian crisis that will arise as a result of the influx of war refugees to neighbouring countries. The most nonsensical thing is that after several millions of lives would have died from both sides, there will be a surrender and a return to status quo just like what happened in 1970. Has Biafra been achieved? No. Is there no alternative to the gory images of war painted above to ensure Biafra is achieved without a single shed of blood? Yes, there is!
The south east political class
More than the Federal Government led by Buhari today, the political class from the East is the major impediment to Biafra agitation. None of them is sold to the idea or at least, they are silent about it. Democracy is a representative government; It is a system where the majority choose a few to represent their interest and speak on their behalf. In a normal setting, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, being the highest Ibo person in government today should be at the fore front of the agitation but has he uttered a word for or against Biafra agitation? At least I am not aware. Both in the senate and the House of Representatives, we have Ibo representatives. Are they agitating for Biafra? I’m not aware. Here lies the disconnect. It means the government representatives from the East are not representing the people they are supposed to be representing or it is the people that elected deficient or wrong people to lead and represent them.
This is where Nnamdi Kanu can use his influence and cult devotion and followership to effect a change. Instead of declaring that there will be no election in Ibo land in general or in Anambra this November, while not ensure you have an anointed candidate that believe in the Biafra dream to contest? I believe that if Kanu should stand behind any candidate in Anambra and indeed the entire Ibo land in 2019, his army of followers will queue behind such candidate. Once all the representatives in government both at the state and federal level are people with IPOB sympathy, the genuine agitation would have started. When these representatives speak with one voice ‘’we want Biafra!’ ‘we want referedum’, there will be no choice than to effect the necessary changes to the constitution authorising a referendum and possible peaceful separation. It will not be the first separation and certainly will not be the last; Nations of the earth have separated in the past.
The effect of hate speech
Except there is something to gain in bloodshed, I do not see the rationale behind the provocative hate speech and war mongering. Are there invisible hands propelling Kanu? Don’t be deceived. As calamitous as war can be, there are profiteers. There are those who smile to the bank once a war is raging; the arms dealers, manufacturers etc. I shuddered when I watched the video of Kanu in USA asking Ibos in America to provide money to buy weapons. To kill who? At what human and material wastage cost? Is he even aware of the full impact of a full blown war? I hated war when I watched the movie ‘’Hotel Rwanda’’. Trying to plunge numerous people into death, anguish, starvation, rape of women, widowing of women, killing of young able bodied men is no sign of heroism. True heroes are the Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, our fore fathers like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Awolowo etc who used their education and enlightenment to amass not an army of fighters but proper articulation to achieve their agitations. Nnamdi Azikiwe and others did not achieve Nigerian Independence by fighting war but through intellectual engagements and dialogue. Those leaders had followers.
But what has Nnamdi Kanu’s leadership produced? A video of boys armed with machetes, knives and other dangerous weapons searching every commercial bus for Hausas to kill in Aba. A video of a burnt mosque and Koran which alone can spark riots in Northern Nigeria. The frenzy of these boys is a direct fallout of their Leader’s hate speeches. One flex of muscle by the Nigeria army and the same people propagating hate speech will be crying the victim. I commend the Northern youths who have remain calm in the face of this provocation. Think of the impact if there is reprisal attacks in the north. I believe there are more Ibos in the north that Hausas in the East. Did these boys who obviously are brainwashed for a moment stop to think of the danger they were placing Easterners in the North? Never! They will be the first to cry the victim if the Ibos are now massacred in retaliation. Kudos to the Plateau State Governor who succeeded in quelling a reprisal attacks in Jos.
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Whether Nnamdi Kanu decides to tow the path of reasoning today and go about his agitation the right way or not; I stand for One Nigeria. I say no to bloodshed! Not one human life. Enough blood has been shed already. Agitation as contrived by Nnamdi Kanu right now, I must say is a road that leads to nowhere. He can only get the death of uncountable people and not Biafra because for Biafra to be achieved, there cannot be a short cut to constitutional amendment and referendum which the present constitution does not recognize. War and killings will not change the constitution but dialogue and intelligent engagement like our fore fathers who got Nigerian Independence from the British will do that.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that some soldiers allegedly gained entrance into Nnamdi Kanu’s compound.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Legit.ng.
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You can watch this Legit.ng TV video below of Kanu's lawyer talking about the military invasion of his client's house: