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Kanu’s renewed call for election boycott



Kanu’s renewed call for election boycott

Since October 21 when the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, made an online broadcast after disappearing for months, there have been renewed agitations in the South-East by members of his group. Perhaps, Kanu’s reappearance and the broadcast from an unknown location was the impetus his disillusioned members needed to believe that their quest for a new country – Biafra – could still be realised.
Among other things he said in the broadcast was that his followers would not participate in any election in 2019 as their avowed boycott of the 2019 elections would remain in force.
He stressed that the group would not shift ground on referendum and election boycott.
“If you want us to participate in any form of election in Biafra land, give us a date for a referendum. If not, count us out of anything called election.
“There is no longer South-East or South-South Nigeria. It shall be known as Biafra. Without referendum, nothing will happen in Nigeria. IPOB will not participate in any election and that position will never change,” Kanu said.
Ordinarily, there would have been no need to take Kanu’s latest outing as a serious venture. But we are concerned that the call and his reappearance are coming just a few months to a general election in which the fortunes of the Igbo and Nigeria generally would be decided.
We consider the reappearance and the call for a boycott of the elections as very disruptive, considering the timing and the possible implication it would have on the elections if the Igbo youths decide to heed his call.
Sure, the Igbo have been here before and have continued to suffer the ugliness of such ignoble calls.
In the 2006 census, for instance, the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), led by Chief Ralph Uwazurike, had made a similar call, asking the Igbo not to participate in the enumeration exercise. Although not all Igbo listened to the call, many did. The result was visible as the South-East, the hot bed of that MASSOB agitation, slipped into the smallest zone in the country by population. Although, some people would argue that the massive migration of the Igbo out of their zone could be a major factor in the minority status conferred on the zone after that census, there is no doubt that Uwazurike’s dubious call played a major part in convincing some uninformed in boycotting the process. More than 12 years after that exercise, the South-East continues to pay for the misadventure.
There have been similar calls on crucial national obligations from both MASSOB and its sister organisation, IPOB. The Anambra governorship election last year was one of such. But being a state election, the damage was not very visible as Governor Willie Obiano was returned to his seat.
It is instructive that currently, both the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council and the Uwazurike-led MASSOB have come out strongly against Kanu’s call this time, telling the Igbo to ignore him.
The Ohanaeze youths said that the call was not beneficial to the Igbo.
We not only align entirely with the positions of the youth and Uwazurike, we also state without any iota of doubt that time has come for the Igbo to ignore all the self-serving, ego-centric and ignorant agitators masquerading as leaders to the detriment of the peace-loving people of the region.
We align with the Igbo leaders, who are seeing the bigger picture and are pushing for the restructuring of the country in line with their counterparts in the South-West, South-South and parts of the North.
We also remind Kanu and his co-travellers that his agitation and quest for self-glory has caused the South-East, not only its reputation in the country, but has also created several problems for innocent citizens of the region, who are staying and earning their living in other parts of the country.
The recent quit order given to Igbo in the North is a case in point. We have not mentioned the thousands of youths, who have lost their lives in the hands of the military and other security agencies in their blind followership of Kanu and his progenitor – Uwazurike.
We recall that even in the heat of the Python Dance by the Army, Kanu was able to find his way out of his base, Umuahia and eventually ended up abroad, from where he resurfaced to make the latest broadcast. While not holding brief for the Army on that exercise, we note that many other youths were not as lucky as Kanu as they could not find their way out of the country. They lost their lives and created a perpetual sorrow in their families. There are also those who acted as his sureties to bail him out of the hold of the Federal Government. They are all in trouble now.
We are strongly of the view that there is time for everything. So long as the Biafran dream is still not realised, the Igbo should not be made to alienate themselves from the collective dreams of Nigeria as a country. Otherwise, calls like Kanu’s could further harm the interest of the Igbo in the Nigerian polity.
We, therefore, insist that Kanu and his co-journey men should take a break and leave the South-East and the Igbo to sort themselves out politically. There is no need to continue to portray the zone as the worst in the country. Kanu should be ignored in the interest of the Igbo.

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