By Jude Atupulazi
Once upon a time during the war between Ancient Greece and Troy, the mighty Greek Army had laid siege to the City of Troy for months but did not succeed in entering the city despite being at its gates. No matter what they did, they could not fend off the resistance mounted by the Trojan Army who fired back at the Greeks from the top of their fortified walls. This went on interminably until the Greeks had a brain wave. That brain wave was to construct a wooden horse inside which some soldiers were hidden.
They left this horse at the gate and left, making it look as though they had given up. In the morning, the Trojans, seeing the horse with no sign of their enemies, opened the gates and pushed in what they thought was a strange gift. But in the night, the soldiers inside the horse, came out and opened the gates from inside to let in their men who had returned, according to their plan. This way, they surprised the Trojans inside their city and attacked them while they still slept. That was how the Greeks finally overcame the Trojans.
Over time, this tactic had been given many names and one of the famous names is called ”the Greek Gift”. This has come to be the name given to anything or gesture deemed suspicious. But this is by the way.
Back to Nigeria, I’m beginning to see the activities and utterances of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, as resembling a Greek Gift from the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
During the last governorship election in Anambra State, Kanu who was granted bail before then, had shouted himself hoarse, telling all those who cared to listen that there would be no election and this was despite all attempts by Igbo elders and leaders to convince him of the need for the election to be held.
After the election which he failed to stop, he opposed a summit scheduled by Igbo elders where they planned to push for a restructuring of the country. IPOB had threatened to kill the president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, if he went ahead with the summit. The summit, however still went on, despite a feeble attempt by IPOB members at the venue to disrupt it by staging a walk out.
Also recall that before then, Kanu had gone missing after the soldiers carrying out ”Operation Python Dance” were said to have raided Kanu’s father’s compound. A version of the story had it that Kanu might have even been killed during the operation following his disappearance in the immediate aftermath of the raid.
This had put Senator Enyinaya Abaribe, the man who signed his bail bond in trouble with the authorities when he could not account for the whereabouts of Kanu. No one knew if he was dead or alive. In between that time too, he had brewed enough trouble for himself, his followers and the Igbo Nation via his utterances. Recall that it was based on his utterances that the Arewa Youths issued a three-month ultimatum to Igbos living in the North to leave or be dealt with.
Some of Kanu’s followers, who swallowed his gospel hook, line and sinker, got themselves killed needlessly. Others got maimed or even imprisoned. And it is instructive to note that after regaining his freedom, Kanu had not bothered to seek the release of those he was imprisoned with. He had not even been known to publicly remember them. Rather, he had gone on a glory seeking expedition, enjoying the klieg lights and sucking up all the praise and adulation by his followers. Indeed, it seems as though what matters to him is being seen as the Igbo leader, even if everybody gets killed while trying to sustain that perception.
Now more than a year after Kanu had gone AWOL, following the raid in his country home, he has suddenly resurfaced. And he is beating the same drum of confusion. He is again calling for a boycott of the general elections at a time the Igbo Nation has glimpsed a little light at the end of their political tunnel. He is vowing to come back to shake the land, not minding that all the previous occasions had resulted in the killing of some people, especially is disciples.
This action is now suspected to be an indication of some plan between him and the presidency to divide Igbo votes. Some people are beginning to see him as a mole of the presidency in Igbo Land, as well as a Trojan Horse smuggled into Igbo heartland to cause confusion and divide us.
The above suspicions have not been proved and may be hard to prove, but then they say that action speaks louder than words. If Kanu is not doing the bidding of some hidden paymaster, why is he always at his loudest before elections? Why is he always very visible during such periods? Why does he disregard his elders and hurl insults at them? Does he not know that such is a sacrilege in Igbo Land? Who is he to do all this?
These are questions many are now asking as what seems the real identity of Kanu appears to be unfolding. This new awareness of his identity has led to one Igbo group vowing to arrest him and take him to the presidency if he sets foot on Igbo Land. But will they take him to the presidency if he is doing their bidding? Again, this cannot be proved for now. However, the threat by that group is something novel. This couldn’t have happened a year ago when many still saw Kanu as a sort of god. For this to be happening now means that the wool may just be beginning to fall off the eyes of hitherto fanatical followers.
Again a look at Kanu’s activities will suggest that even if he is not doing the bidding of outsiders, he is certainly a rabble rouser and a bad influence on those crazy or ignorant enough to fall for his brand of nationalism.
While the Igbo Nation craves for restructuring as a realistic option to solving our problems, Kanu is rooting for a referendum, something that is obviously not likely to happen. In fact, his is like the biblical lone voice crying in the wilderness. Apart from the core North, virtually every other part of the country wants restructuring which is something that will guarantee equity, fairness and justice. A restructured Nigeria will offer every part of the country a level playing ground to attain their full potentials. But even though many parts of the country want this, it has been difficult to come by.
So if what many want is difficult to achieve, what tells Kanu that what only he wants can be easily achieved? Being that he was there when one Ralph Uwazurike came with his Biafra war cry which petered out without being achieved, what tells Kanu that he will be the one to achieve it? What makes him think he can ever achieve anything without the support of those who matter? Does he believe for one moment that in the unlikely event that Biafra is got, he will be the one to lead a nation of many accomplished men and women, including today’s governors? Does he think that Biafra will be achieved by such cheap propaganda as claiming that he has an understanding with Israel?
Last week news sources reported that Kanu was not actually in Israel. This came on the heels of pictures Kanu posted of himself praying in a Jewish synagogue. The Israeli authorities said they were old pictures.
But amazingly, while enlightened minds have never taken Kanu seriously, there are those who are ready to swear by all their local gods that Kanu is the real deal; that he indeed, has the ears of the world’s super powers; the same super powers that did not utter a whimper when he was incarcerated. But those who believe in him will never ask such questions. They are the ones who believe and hope that someday, the American president or the United Nations will order Nigeria to grant independence to Ndigbo. To these people, the sovereignty of nations is mere academic talk.
For sure, Kanu is right in feeling bad about the condition of Ndigbo in Nigeria. Others feel bad too. But the difference between the rest of us and Kanu remains the approach being adopted to change the situation. We fought a war to achieve independence and lost. Since then, we have been treated as a defeated people. Isn’t it plausible that we should seek a better, more realistic way of living in Nigeria happily? What better, more realistic way to do so than to call for restructuring?
While the current regime of Buhari has jettisoned the idea of restructuring, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has promised to carry out it out. Not only that, he has a proud son of Ndigbo, Peter Obi, as his running mate; meaning that should he win, the Igbo Nation will be in Aso Rock in a big way.
But while the vast majority of Ndigbo are joined by many from other parts of the country in celebrating Atiku’s choice of an Igbo man as his running mate, Kanu has surfaced from God knows where to call for a boycott of the general elections by Ndigbo. Should he succeed, it will mean that the PDP, the only party big enough to wrest power from the ruling APC, will lose vital votes in Igbo Land, an area that has always given them bloc votes. Should that happen, the APC Government will continue in power for the next four years; the same government that jailed Kanu and supposedly killed his people.
Isn’t it therefore strange that while the rest of the country is mobilizing people to vote out the oppressive Buhari Government next year, Kanu is mobilizing people to make Buhari remain in power? Surely, Kanu can’t be doing this unless he is in some kind of deal with some people who delight in keeping Ndigbo where they have been in the country since the Civil War.
If that is the case, then Kanu may well be a Trojan Horse in our midst.