Wonders, as they say, shall never end in Nigeria. I am so ashamed of myself. So much so that I feel like disappearing from the surface of the earth upon watching the video of the “almighty Nnamdi Kanu” of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) praying in Jerusalem for misleading our people and absconding with his ill-gotten wealth. These are indeed lessons to be learned when we wipe up unnecessary sentiments in the polity. And also a reminder to us as a people that we should take our time to study the motives and actions of individuals masquerading themselves as religious and ethnic champions.
By Charles Mbani*
The Nnamdi Kanu’s case was quite an unfortunate episode when one realized how he deceived many people into believing he is the messiah they have been waiting for. He became a nuisance, and he is still one, and he gave out himself, not only as an ethnic champion, but he also arrogated himself a spiritual role in the lives of some members of the unsuspecting public.
In truth, I was one of those that fell for his gimmick. I recall that I rose stoutly in his defense when it was speculated that he had either been killed or whisked away by the Nigeria Army when it launched Operation Python Dance to curtail the excesses of armed groups and other vices in South East Nigeria. But little did I know that the so-called progenitor of the now proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had perfected plans and indeed fled the country. So many questions are begging for answers in my head. And one of them is why he choose the dishonorable path of running away and leaving the people he was leading to their fate?
I am also hurt that his cowardly act left our people in sorrow and pains. He used them to enrich himself and family, and when the time came for him to stand for his people, he fled. What a shame. At this point, it would suffice to state that I indeed owe the Chief of Army Staff, and by extension the Nigeria Army an unreserved apology for my unwarranted and unverified vent of ignorance when it was speculated that Nnamdi Kanu had been whisked away. I also believe that other social commentators that also fell victim of Nnamdi Kanu gimmick and labeled the Nigeria Army in derogatory terms should also tender their unreserved apologies. Why this is necessary, you might want to ask.
It is essential because once upon a time, a certain man named Nnamdi Kanu instigated a national crisis that threatened the continued existence of Nigeria. He sought and received financial gratification from individuals, groups, and even countries that were against the progress of Nigeria. And only for him to flee. And that in itself caused a national crisis when various groups started a campaign of defamation against the Nigerian Army. I recall that the President General of Afaraukwu, his autonomous community, Chief Ikechukwu Nwabueze, revealed the community’s resolve to sue the Federal Government if they fail to produce their son, Nnamdi Kanu. If this is not the height of deceit and mischief, I do not know what to call it. I do hope he is ready to pay any sum that will be required by the Federal Government as compensation for blackmail.
It didn’t end there, a team of IPOB lawyers, led by Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja praying for an order directing the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to produce Kanu in court. Because, Kanu was last seen after soldiers invaded the IPOB leaders house in Afara-ukwu Ibeku, Umuahia Abia State, “on a murderous raid, where life and mortar bullets were fired on an unarmed and defenseless populace, leaving 28 persons dead and abducting many”. If this is not the height of deceit, then what else is it?
Also worrisome was the fact that the hypocrisy of IPOB was taken too far and it came with consequences, such that would affect the sincerity of purpose on the people of the South East in the marginalization debate in the future.
I say this because even with the knowledge of the promoters of IPOB that their leader had fled, they still went ahead to issue a statement indicating that the federal government may have killed Nnamdi Kanu. The statement at the time read that “IPOB and its leadership worldwide under the command and leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu wish to bring to the notice of the whole world that the whereabouts of our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and parents are still unknown to humanity since the attack in his compound last week. IPOB have been searching for our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and parents nowhere to be found since last week; we are challenging the Nigerian army and police to produce our leader Mazi Nnamdi since it is a prerogative right for him to make statement inform his confidants and teeming members all over the world about his condition.” This was the height of hypocrisy
I now wonder what the next line of action would be for IPOB and its promoters since their leader had resurfaced in Jerusalem instead of one of the detention camps of the Nigeria Army. Would they bury their heads in shame? Would they issue an unreserved apology to their unsuspecting followers whom they had deceived into believing in a cause that had turned out to be a scam? All of these are questions that must be answered if we are sincere with our selves.
Those that also stood as surety for him also lied under oath that the Nigerian Army had Nnamdi Kanu in its custody. They have committed perjury, and the law must take its cause in my opinion. There is also a new dimension to the whole saga with the fact that he was sighted in Israel after committing crimes against the state in Nigeria. What does that tell us? Does it explain the claims by regional neighbors that Israel trains, arms, and backs terrorists? This is a topic for another day.
With the unfolding drama, it is now evident that the agitation by IPOB was just a smokescreen to exploit his people. There was no iota of truth in all of his public posturing other than the fact that he saw an avenue to enrich himself and he took advantage of it. I am sure those South East leaders and elders under the umbrella of Ohaneze Ndigbo, that fell victim for his gimmick would be hiding their faces as it stands. But even as they do that, I think they should apologize to the Nigerian government, the Chief of Army Staff, and the Nigeria Army for the ignorant campaign of calumny it launched.
*Mbani is a public affairs commentator and President of the South East Renewal Group [SERG].Opinions expressed are his.