BY ONYINYE OKOKNWO
IMPLICATION: A possible effect or result of a decision or action.
It was a normal sunny Friday, the 19th of October 2018, the media space was still abuzz with the news of peter obi being chosen by Atiku as his running mate, praise articles for obi and his suitability for the position was everywhere in the media, ndi-igbo were still basking in the euphoria of obi’s naming as running mate, this is our time after V.P in 2019, come 2023 ndi-igbo will produce a president in Nigeria. There is now peace in the region, those ipob agitators have been permanently silenced (or so they thought) now we can focus on producing the next president. Little did ndi-igbo know that their plans may face serious setbacks because on that 19th of October 2018, a photo of Nnamdi kanu the leader of the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) surfaced online with the news that he was spotted in Israel, This news was received with doubt as many claimed it was a fake picture while his supporters already began to rejoice.
The news was received with doubt because after the operation python dance 2 which was held in the south-east in September 2017 and the alleged invasion of Nnamdi kanu’s residence in Abia state by security operatives, the IPOB leader had not been seen in public or even heard from which was very strange and very unlike him. The IPOB leader who is loud, foul mouthed and attention loving many reasoned would not have been able to stay out of the news ordinarily, he always had something to say ,so many concluded that he was either being held in a secret location by security operatives or worse still, dead. I personally hoped it was the former, that he is probably being held in some secret location by security operatives. He had after all broken all the agreements that made up his bail conditions agreed upon by him before he was granted bail after his previous arrest. I guess one option we never considered amidst the speculations of what might have become the fate of kanu post python dance, was the idea that he ran for his dear life, although I found this hard to accept at first ,and when I accepted the possibility, found it very amusing because I could vividly remember the IPOB leader claiming that he was ready to give his life for the actualization of Biafra, and with the passion and ferocity with which he spoke I must confess that I believed he was reckless enough to give his life for this. So you can imagine my disappointment which later became amusement when I realised that kanu was not really as willing to die as he claimed, because he ran away and went into hiding and has now revealed that there was a plot to assassinate him. I guess he realized how sweet this life is after all and decided he didn’t want to die anymore.
To confirm that he was indeed well and alive, Nnamdi kanu made a live broadcast through their IPOB station confirming that he is indeed very alive and he is in Israel. In his live broadcast he said that he was ‘going to return’ and speaking about the 2019 election he said; ‘we will not be part of anything, we want referendum ’I personally I’m not excited about Nnamdi kanu’s return to public space, I strongly believe that he is not fighting for ‘liberation’ of Ndi-Igbo as he claims. Nnamdi kanu is in this for himself and obviously sees this as a way to make a name for himself regardless of the causalities. He claimed in his broadcast that 28 members of IPOB were killed when his home was raided by security operatives; these are the people who I feel sorry for, those who as sheep follow him to be slaughtered for no good reason. He suffers from false delusions of grandeur and has begun to believe his own lies that he is some sort of saviour to Ndigbo. What kind of saviour runs away in the face of danger and leaves his followers behind to die in his place? Is this how he plans to rescue the Igbo nation? Stir up unrest, instigate the killing of innocent citizens and then escape to safety like a thief in the night? Is that his plan? To destabilize the eastern region, turn the people against their leaders and make Ndi-Igbo continue to be seen as ‘‘rebels’’ by the rest of the country.
I really believe this is the plan of Nnamdi kanu, from his actions and utterances I don’t see him as someone who has a well thought out, well laid plan to achieve his supposed aim of getting a referendum. I strongly suspect although I have no proof to back up my suspicions that Nnamdi kanu is being sponsored by yet unknown parties to stir up unrest and sabotage the south east. Example is his pronouncement that we will not vote come 2019, any normal and straight thinking ‘freedom fighter’ knows how important dialogue is, if you feel you want a referendum does it not make more sense to align yourself to a presidential candidate who is sympathetic to your cause and is willing to give you listening ears? And encourage your very large following to vote your preferred candidate knowing that when he gets into power due attention will be paid to the issues that you have raised? Nnamdi kanu is obviously not interested in that and I have asked myself the reason for his lack of interest in seeking peaceful resolution to the issues he is fighting for, he is obviously an intelligent young man, surely he should know that there are better ways to go about getting a referendum. Either he is being sponsored to cause problems in the south-east by yet unknown parties or he is just in this to gain fame and media popularity or possibly both. From his actions and utterances this is the only logical conclusion.
Now the implications of Nnamdi kanu’s re-emergence and prouncements are very serious and if left unchecked can cause some damage to the south-east. For the purpose of this article and to save space, they can be categorized under political implication, security implications and economic implications. The political implication of kanu’s pronouncement that Ndi-Igbo will not vote is very damaging especially in view of the fast approaching 2019 general elections with peter obi an easterner being the running mate of one of the top contenders for presidency. If ndi-igbo really do not vote as decreed by kanu then it doesn’t bode well for the Atiku/Obi ticket. The south east is already disadvantaged by lack of numbers compared to the south-west and northern regions, we are by far the smallest and according to data released by INEC we have the lowest number of registered voters. So the statement by kanu should not been taken lightly because love him or hate him, Nnamdi kanu is well loved and has a large following among the poor and middle class in the south-east, if he tells them not to vote come2019 chances are that they may listen to him and refrain from voting, Ndi-Igbo cannot afford to take that chance. The political leaders in the south east should immediately commence a sensitization campaign to educate the electorates in the south east on why they most vote and the importance of voting.
Another implication of kanu’s return is the effect it will have on the south east economically and security wise. When the IPOB agitation was at its peak, there were constant clashes between security operatives and members of IPOB in different cities in the south-east which had resulted in loss of lives, properties and many times grounded economic activities to a halt in major business locations like Onitsha and Aba. The constant sit at home ultimatums issued by IPOB made people sit at home for fear of what might happen if they went to their business places and this caused serious fear and tension in cities in the south-east and also affected the ease of doing business giving the increased presence of security operatives. Since the disappearance of kanu, there has been relative peace and reduced tension in the south-east, now that he has returned and with the added tension that comes with the election season, one can only hope and pray that we continue to enjoy peace as we have in the region and that Ndi-Igbo will come together and fight against any agent whose plan is to sabotage their progress, and also fight against any convert plan to disenfranchise and undermine the political standing of Ndi-Igbo in the nation.