By Jude Atupulazi
A lot of things have happened since I last wrote on the Biafra agitation some two weeks ago. Those things have happened very fast indeed but the bottom line is what appears to be cracks on the wall of the agitation for Biafra. The leader and founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, is at logger heads with his one-time apostle, Simon Ekpa, who is now seemingly on the verge of toppling Kanu as the top gun of the Biafra business.
It all began when Ekpa, the criminal based in Finland, announced a two-week sit-at-home in ‘Biafra Land’ aimed at forcing the Federal Government to release Kanu, a directive that was supposed to begin last Monday but which has so far been totally ignored by ‘Biafrans’ throughout the Southeast.
It was nevertheless a directive that drew wide condemnations from people in the zone who saw it as sheer madness to ask people to stay back home in such hard times. Thus, it was a directive that was always going to flop, especially when the earlier one-week sit-at-home called by same Ekpa met with non-compliance, despite desperate attempts by Ekpa to instil fear in the populace by carrying out isolated attacks in equally isolated areas in parts of the Southeast Zone.
Now, having ordered another round of sit-at-home, this time for two weeks, Kanu, whose faction had lately been against the sit-at-home business, wrote a letter from detention which was widely circulated on social and mainstream media, dissociating himself and group from Ekpa’s directive, while announcing at the same time that all manner of sit-at-home directives had been abolished.
Many thought that the announcement by Kanu would make Ekpa, who claims to be fighting for Kanu, to simmer down and comply with Kanu’s directive. But it came as a shock to many (not me anyway) when Ekpa countered Kanu’s announcement and said the sit-at-home must continue until Kanu was released.
He also claimed that the letter purportedly written by Kanu was not Kanu’s hand writing and even suggested that Kanu could have been compromised.
Well, as I stated, the response by Ekpa surprised many. But it did not surprise me because I had seen it coming a long, long time ago. If there is one thing these pro-Biafra agitators are good at, it is propaganda; the kind of propaganda spewed by Kanu about Buhari being dead and another person who looked like Buhari being groomed to stand for him. It was really wonderful and amazing that many people fell for it and still fall for it.
They forgot that such a thing could not happen without the world media celebrating it. At least that’s the sort of news CNN dreams of getting. Back to our talk, anyway.
If there’s one thing the Biafra agitators of today have effectively borrowed from the Civil War days, it is propaganda; the kind that Okoko Ndem of blessed memory used to spew out which strengthened the sagging morale of Biafran civilians and soldiers but which ultimately failed to stand before the reality that later stared everyone in the face.
So, just as the perpetrators of the mayhem in the Southeast would in the early days of their insurrection kill and pass the blame to the Directorate of State Services, DSS, and the Fulani (mind you, the Fulani were also involved, but as killer herdsmen), I knew that a time would come when such propaganda would be used against Kanu by the monsters he created.
Thus, now that Kanu has written from detention, calling for a stop to the useless and self-defeating sit-at-home, Ekpa is giving him a dose of his (Kanu’s) own propaganda by insisting the letter was not Kanu’s hand writing. I used to tell those who believe that releasing Kanu would bring the killings in the Southeast to an end that it would not. I have always maintained that even if Kanu was released and he began to preach peace as he is doing now, he would be accused of collecting money from the Federal Government and betraying the struggle. Is it not happening now already?
What many people do not realize is that these new kids on the block have tasted money and power and would not want to let go. Before Kanu, was Ralph Uwazurike. Kanu came up and usurped the position of Ralph and it was always going to be a matter of time before another person usurped Kanu’s position. Ekpa is about doing that now.
He has declared himself the Prime Minister of Biafran Government in Exile. He stays in that exile and causes mayhem in his homeland and sending ignorant young men to their early graves.
But wait a minute! Would Kanu even be sounding reconciliatory today if he had not been caught? Today he is asking for support for the Southeast governors, the same governors he called names. He is calling for sanity in the Southeast which is part of what he described as a zoo.
Is it a wonder that Ekpa is today cleverly hinting that Kanu has been compromised? It was not difficult to know this would happen from the onset but for some people, because of their sentimental attachment to this Biafra thing, they were, and still are, ready to gobble up any tale told to them.
The cold truth is that this Biafra thing is about going full circle or what we normally call back to square one. Kanu’s era is about disappearing and Ekpa’s is about beginning, albeit in more brutal fashion. This crack on Biafra’s wall was expected, given the true motive of the agitation which is the struggle for power and money but which was lost on those fooled by Biafra sentiments.
It is clear to discerning minds that the Biafra agitation as we know it today is big business. Uwazurike did it and amassed wealth before disappearing. Kanu came on board and did his bit, albeit cleverly, but lost it with his recourse to violent agitation. I’ve asked anyone to tell me any business Kanu was doing before now; yet he lived in opulence on monies donated mostly by ignorant Igbos abroad.
It is ignorance that makes those Igbos abroad not to wonder why they should be going about their work abroad while encouraging their brethren at home to be locking up their shops and be sitting at home. While they sit at home, their so-called enemies elsewhere in Nigeria are doing their work and making money. Brainwashing is really a dangerous thing.
Yes, everybody knows the Igbos have not been fairly treated in Nigeria but is violent agitation against their own people the best way to go about it? NO! Like I keep insisting, unleashing violence on their homeland is like cutting off one’s head to spite the nose. It remains the stupidest thing yet done by Ndigbo in their long history.
Today, businesses in Igbo Land are almost in ruins, while those of their so-called adversaries are booming. If anyone notices, many people are taking their business to Asaba in Delta State. Even some traders from other parts of the country no longer bring their goods directly to Onitsha because of the violence associated with the stupid sit-at-home thing.
They now stop in Asaba while our people go there to bring them into Onitsha at extra cost which adds to the cost of goods and other items. Who is losing? Yet, some people will sit in the comfort of their homes abroad and issue orders for people to sit at home in the Southeast and some people here will be clapping for them. As they say in Nigeria, na who do us this thing?
As the drama in this Biafra thing continues to unfold, it is time for us to learn our lessons. The modus operandi of the current agitation, from Kanu’s to Ekpa’s, has been wrong, very wrong. When children fail to listen to the wise words of their elders they are bound to get into trouble. So what we are seeing now unfolding in our homeland is avoidable trouble.
It would have been avoided if Kanu had listened to some of us. But he appeared all-knowing and see where he has landed himself? The question is: if Kanu had not been arrested and detained, would he be preaching peace now? You know the answer. Same goes for Ekpa who is fooling himself now. If tomorrow he is extradited and detained you will soon see a different Ekpa and some people may start pleading on his behalf.
My reason for this piece is to let us know that it is not every time we give in to sentiments. Things must be done the right way. You can’t break the laws because you are aggrieved. If you do so, you will be caught and punished and that is that. You don’t also insult your elders and expect them to fight for you.
It is like what is happening in many communities today where youths insult and undermine their elders and constituted authorities in the name of fighting for their rights. The people doing this may not be far from common touts. As far as I know, the real youths are busy earning honest living but the bad ones are moving about selling people’s lands and causing trouble in their areas and communities.
Sorry if I have demystified your heroes, but that’s the way it is. The cracks on the Biafran walls should serve as a good warning that things must be done right. I rest my case.