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HomeOpinionOjukwu and Nnamdi Kanu's Biafra, Similarities and Differences

Ojukwu and Nnamdi Kanu’s Biafra, Similarities and Differences

By Amb. Nworisa Michael

Following closely the events of the court hearing of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), I began to wonder and marvel at the height of respect Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was enjoying from the government as it was obvious, he’s well cared for. I wish the Nigerian Police Force and Correctional Center offers same to their suspects or inmates.

My attention was however drawn to a certain video posted by a media page of a certain lawyer stating that he was been denied entrance into the court room by officers of the Nigerian Police Force who in his words relied on using the power of the gun to do this and to him was wrong.

Your right to be present in a court room for a matter as these is subjective if you’re not a counsel to the defendant or plaintiff especially as regards to the Covid-19 protocols. I also wondered if this lawyer ever thought that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on his part was using the power of the media to make some unhealthy incitements and to which in itself is more deadly than the gun.

Severally, I’ve spoken against the activities of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and often times I have been misinterpreted by gullible youths who have fallen victim to the negative use of the “power of the media ” by Kanu.

It would be fair to note that I fault not his person as having the right to believe in whatever believes in, I respect the United Nation’s “right of self-determination,” but his strategy in pursuing this course is what I am against, because, the strategy is doing more harm than good to the region and by extension the entire Federation.  

The Biafran war was a battle that ought not to have been fought, but it’s unfortunate that it happened. It’s one of those things that comes when military seeks to interfere in democratic governance.

As in the case of IPOB or any agitating group, this is not to say that there are no legitimate concerns. Every group has grievances but the beauty and attraction of democracy is that it allows different groups to air their grievances in the most civil manner to work out modalities for a peaceful co-existence.

Southeastern youths who consider IPOB as a solution to the region and political challenges should do well also to seek adequate knowledge on the cause of Ojukwu’s declaration of Biafra and to compare same to what Kanu is doing.

They should also know that Ojukwu was and remained a stakeholder of the one Nigerian dream. This can solidly be seen when he himself led the Federal troops against the Niger-Delta Republic when it was declared a Sovereign state from Nigeria by Isaac Adaka Boro on February 23, 1966 a battle which lasted for twelve days and eventually, he won reclaiming the region back.

I however, will fault the growing support for IPOB more on the political leaders in the affected region as it is due to their negligence over their core mandates by electorates of the region.

Truth is, a true reconciliation is yet to be witnessed in Nigeria because almost every region is aggrieved. The North are in need of an apology for their traditional and political leaders killed in the coup which saw the first military interference in the Nigerian Government. In the South, Deltans seek apology over the Asaba massacre on event that is barely spoken about but deep in the hearts of many is a wound yet to heal and so are many more ugly incidents recorded then.

Going forward, we need to truly forgive one another and work towards a brighter future for us and the generations unborn.  The youths of this present generation of Nigerian should champion this cause.

I often laugh at sympathizers of Kanu when they say he “opened their eyes” towards the flaws of politicians, though he might have but it would have been best if he opened their minds to see the actual motive behind Ojukwu’s Biafra and his own Biafra.

For clarity, it should not be forgotten of Ojukwu’s role in the Nigerian state after the war was thus that; “shortly after his return, Odumegwu-Ojukwu joined full-blown politics. In January 1983, he linked up with the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) that granted him reprieve and sought a position in the Senate on its platform to the chagrin of most of his Igbo kinsmen, who were in the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe-led Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP). Thus, his bid for the Senate representing Onitsha Senatorial District (Anambra) was unsuccessful.

Having taken part in the ‘fouled’ politics of Second Republic, Ojukwu was among a host of politicians that Major General Muhammadu Buhari-led military government hauled into detention when the military seized power on December 31, 1983. He was detained for 10 months.

Undaunted, the Ikemba also took part in the General Ibrahim Babangida botched Third Republic transition program.

In 1993, declared his intention to run for presidency. He said the surest way to show that the civil war had ended and the Igbo fully integrated into the affairs of the nation was to allow the Igbo become president.

Aside full integration of the Igbo into the governance of the country, Ojukwu also enunciated far-reaching plans to halt the country’s slide into decay. But the Nigerian government was not yet ready for Ojukwu presidency. He was promptly disqualified from running for president along with other old breed politicians by Babangida.

As an astute politician, Ojukwu kept himself relevant in the scheme of things. He was one of those elected to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) of 1994 to 1995.

Under General Abdusalami Abubakar, he was among Nigerian leaders the government consulted to ensure hitch-free transition program. He was to join the All-Peoples Party (APP), which emerged as the main opposition party to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 1999.

On the road to the 2003 general elections, he joined the All-Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and was nominated as its presidential flagbearer. He fought the polls against President Olusegun Obasanjo, General Buhari and other contenders and came third.

He repeated the quest in 2007 and came sixth, an indication that he might never get the plum job. Having ruled the entire Eastern region, he is arguably the highest-ranking Igbo man to vie for the presidency apart from Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Determined to improve governance in the country, he fraternized with civil society groups and pressure groups such as the Ethnic Nationalities Forum (ENF), urging convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to restructure Nigeria into a true Federal State.

As his political career reached the end, Ojukwu made an unusual request in February 2010. He begged the Anambra Electorate to grant him his last wish. And what was the wish? Return Governor Peter Obi to Anambra Government House. Indeed, his wish was granted as amid unassailable political arsenal amassed by the PDP in Anambra State, Governor Obi emerged victorious at the February 6, 2010 polls.”

Instead of division, the IPOB should act as a pressure group to demand service delivery and accountability from their leaders.

If Hon. Dim Chuwkuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was still alive, an address from him would see to the end of this agitations. Notwithstanding, I hope soon enough the youths will start asking the right questions and leaders begin to lead right and not rule.

Amb. Michael is good governance advocate, Founder / Executive Coordinator, Stand for Peace Initiative. nworisamichael1917@gmail.com

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