The leader of the proscribed group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, last week, took his bizarre acts to a new height. Kanu, a self-aclaimed Biafra activist and leader of the group, on his live Facebook broadcast, told his followers to stone to death, the President General of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, wherever they saw him. Kanu said: “Do you know what is paining me tonight? And why Nnia Nwodo should be stoned? Anywhere you see him outside, stone him to death.”
He further called on God to “destroy Ohanaeze”. Kanu premised his strange death decree on the alleged insecurity pervading the whole of the South-East in the form of herdsmen and other vices. By Kanu’s estimation, it was the inability of Nwodo and his Ohanaeze group to heed to his earlier warning many years ago about the planned Fulani invasion of the South-East that is responsible for the current rot.
His comments came after Nwodo had asked Igbo youths and other pro-Biafra agitators to employ diplomacy in their quest for self- determination. Kanu had to recant his order a few days after, possibly when he realised the backlash the inglorious call has generated. According to him, he received calls from responsible people who pleaded on Nwodo’s behalf.
Kanu said: “After my conversation with them on the issue, I hereby announce to you that the order to stone Nnia Nwodo wherever you see him is lifted off. “Don’t stone him when you see him….” Although, Kanu has withdrawn the death sentence on Nwodo, we find it highly irresponsible, offensive and thoughtless, nonetheless. We do not understand in what mood Kanu was when he first uttered his stoning order in the first place. Was he on drugs or high on alcohol or any other thing? To even utter the statement is stretching his luck too far.
It is on record that Igbo leaders and non-Igbo leaders alike stood up against the proscription of his group by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, ostensibly because his group was considered armless and a propaganda group, which posed no terrorism threats as pronounced by government.
It is also on record that Igbo leaders stood for him and extracted him from the clutches of government when he was detained for nearly two years by government. Such persons as Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, till today, bear the marks of Kanu’s jumping of the bail granted to him by the courts. Kanu simply vanished for months and resurfaced abroad, from where he has been spewing hate against Igbo leaders and other ethnic groups in Nigeria. We have failed to understand Kanu’s motive in his tirade and war against the Nigerian state.
That is because, if he is fighting the Igbo cause, he should have known that there are limits to his utterances against the same people he wants a republic for. Rather, he has marked Igbo governors, Ohanaeze and Igbo leaders of different hue as targets for character assassination and threats. We have not forgotten that a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, was nearly lynched in Germany a few years ago when he attended a new yam festival there. Those who nearly committed the murder were members of Kanu’s IPOB. Kanu even boasted that they were waiting for other Igbo leaders abroad to deal with them like they did to Ekweremadu.
We ask: What is Kanu chasing and whose interest is he pursuing? The answer lies in the rent Kanu collects from gullible Igbo youths and others in the Diaspora, who ignorantly believed that Kanu was fighting for Biafra and the emancipation of the Igbo.
But we have no doubt that Kanu is unto a racket, lining his purse and living large with contributions made to an unreasonable cause. We do not doubt that Nigeria, as presently constituted, does not engender growth, equity and fairness in the management of its affairs. But it is a Nigerian problem, not necessarily an Igbo problem.
That is why there is insecurity all over the country today, not just in the South-East. We wonder why Katsina youths, whose son is the president of the country, have not passed a death sentence on Buhari over the activities of bandits in the area.
The same is obtainable in all the North-West, North-East, North- Central and other parts of the country. We believe that time has come for Igbo leaders ranging from state governors, traditional rulers and political leaders to be bold enough and denounce this strange IPOB group led by Kanu.
They should see the group for what it is – a scam. Not long ago, Ralph Uwazurike, the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) had taken the Igbo race for a ride with his activism. Uwazurike has made enough money through extortion and phoney schemes that included the fake Biafran passports and memorabilia, which, at the end, did not fly. Uwazurike has seen the need for one Nigeria now. It’s now Kanu’s turn to milk his race with irresponsible calls and intimidation.
He continues to hurt Igbo interest and bring enemies to the Igbo race. We believe that time has come for Igbo leaders everywhere to call a spade by its name and consign Kanu and his followers to the dustbin of history. It is a fact that what Igbo leaders want is restructuring, not Kanu’s brand of Biafra.