Ahmed Yahaya -Joe
“An Englishman does everything on principle. He fights you on patriotic principles; he robs you on business principles; he enslaves you on imperial principles.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Back in the day, United Kingdom was the Shangri-La of political fugitives from Nigeria. They included Chiefs Adisa Akinloye, Joseph Wayas and Richard Akinjide. The British were so vehemently opposed to their extradition to face the law back home.
Rather, the UK readily provided the enabling environment that transformed then most wanted man in Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Dikko into the most outspoken critic of GMB’s junta abroad. Yet, here we are that the same British decades later so quick to extradites Kanu back to PMB’s government. There is need for careful understudy!
For me the fundamental difference between Dikko and Kanu has to do with the permanent British interest in Nigeria. Simply put, what Englishmen had put together in 1914 shall not be put asunder by secession. The British have consistently shown they would by any means necessary, protect and preserve the corporate existence of Nigeria. Kanu has not been smart enough to properly read and interpret the optics.
The young man is obviously a poor student of history.
Apparently, nobody has told him that in 1953, when the North had wanted to secede on the basis that Arewa was not Western educationally prepared for national independence the British vehemently resisted that bid.
Next came Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro (1938-1968) who declared the Niger Delta Republic on February 23, 1966. Then, Major Murtala Mohammed on July 29, 1966 who carried out “Araba” in another attempt to excise the North from the rest of Nigeria.
In both instances the British wrestled those attempts to the ground using General Yakubu Gowon as their Man Friday.
The complete repudiation of the British government to the secession of Biafra in 1967 is too well known to be recounted here.
Mandarins are trained to be supremely strategic. Adept at diversionary antics they played diplomatic mind games to encircle and set-up Kanu. Their game plan started in April, 2021 when the Home Office, issued a set of guidelines to its Visa and Immigration department for any asylum seeker from Nigeria “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution.”
This must have given Kanu a false sense of exaggerated importance. He missed the fine print in the caveat which mandated British officials, “to consider if the [Nigerian] government’s actions are acts of prosecution, not persecution” adding, “Those fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence are not normally refugees.”
Less than a week later following protests from the FG and a lot of water passing under the bridge, the Home Office declared, “Our note on Biafra separatists has been taken down for review; an update is expected shortly.”
Why the Mandarins lured Kanu, a British citizen out to a third country is to ensure there no legal complications within the United Kingdom. It was indeed a sting operation par excellence!
Mandarin is the nickname giving to any ranking member of the British establishment.
Why does the continued corporate existence of Nigeria matter to the British?
The South due to their early educational advancement and level of exposure to the Western world blindsided themselves by the urgent demand for national independence without making prior reassurances to the North. That hurry was viewed with suspicion as an attempt at domination.
The Northern intelligentsia’s option on the other hand when their 1953 secession bid failed was to have the candor to fully align themselves with the British for a delay without compromising their Caliphate past. The British in turn mentored and have continuously sustained its ally into the political domineering factor that it is today in Nigeria’s political space.
My take therefore is that the South are historically chess players always concentrating on short term victories and immediate goals. While the North have always played go with long term objectives in mind.
I might be wrong but 48 Laws of Power in pp. 423-424 offers an insight on how the North and South are politically different;
“A game of go – called ‘wei-chi’ in China can last up to three hundred moves. The strategy is subtler and fluid than chess. Fighting to control a particular area is not worth the trouble. You have to think in larger terms to dominate the board. What you are after is not an entrenched position but mobility.
With mobility you can isolate the opponent in small areas and then encircle them. The aim is not to kill off the opponent’s pieces directly, as in chess, but to induce a kind of paralysis and collapse.
Chess is linear, position oriented, and aggressive; go is nonlinear and fluid. Aggression is indirect until the end of the game, when the winner can surround the opponent’s pieces.”
“A key go concept is to use the size of the board to your advantage, spreading out in every direction so that your opponent cannot fathom your movements in a simple linear way. You encircle the opponent’s brain, using mind games, and irritation tactics to confuse and dishearten.
In chess the board is small. Go is played on a large grid, nearly six times as many positions as in chess. It is impossible to predict your moves; unable to understand you, your opponent can form no strategy to defeat you.
The ancient game of Go is closer to the kind of strategy that will prove relevant in a world where battles are fought indirectly, in vast, loosely connected areas. Its strategies are abstract and multidimensional, inhabiting a plane beyond time and space – the strategist’s mind.”
I humbly stand to be corrected!