Yesterday, I saw a video of Nnamdi Kanu defending Nigeria.
Yes, that same Nnamdi Kanu. The one who was caught on camera asking for ammunition to destroy Nigeria.
In the video, shot during a rally in front of the Nigerian High Commission in London, Nnamdi Kanu said the following:
“We are here to protest the killing of innocent women and children all over Nigeria. We are protesting about the killing of families. We are protesting against people who are here to tear the country apart violently. It is not something that we support. We are here to send a clear message to the Nigerian government that if this continues, it will lead to the violent disintegration of Nigeria. What will happen to Nigeria will make Somalia look like a tea party. The only thing the terrorists can accomplish is the violent disintegration of Nigeria. We are asking for peace, we are asking for people to get together. We are asking for those who love Nigeria to prevail on the government for peace. We cannot stomach a repeat of the civil war. If Boko Haram continues, no place will be safe in Nigeria. We need to act now to stop this Boko Haram nonsense from continuing.”
The statement above was made by the now detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement, just a few short months before he started Radio Biafra.
Now, let us compare with statements he made, only a few months ago, which were repetitions of some of the statements he has made on air via his pirate radio station…
“If they fail to give us Biafra, Somalia will look like a paradise compared to what will happen to that ZOO (Nigeria). It is a promise, it is a pledge, and it is also a threat to them. If they do not give us Biafra, there will be nothing living in that very zoo they call Nigeria. Nothing will survive there, I can assure you…I do not believe in peaceful actualisation of what ever the rubbish is called. I have never seen where you become free by peaceful means.” – Nnamdi Kanu, speaking to Sahara Reporters in 2014.
“Anybody who voted or supported Buhari, give me a gun, I will shoot the person dead, and go to prison.” – Nnamdi Kanu, at the World Igbo Congress in Los Angeles, in 2015.
In the light of the above, there are questions, which people on both sides of the divide in this argument must ask themselves, and some of these questions give no rise to any comfort.
Firstly, why have the issues raised by Mr. Kanu in his speech in the video not yet been addressed a full three years after the protest happened?
Secondly, what could have possibly happened, between the date of this rally, and the start of Radio Biafra, to make the man make such a complete u-turn?
Thirdly, could it be that he got frustrated with the way things were going and began to toy with the idea of breaking Nigeria up? Truth is, there are so many of us who are frustrated with Nigeria at the moment, including me.
Fourthly, could it be that the man was just an opportunist looking to enrich himself, and was scouting for financiers, from any side of the divide?
If the previous question has a positive answer, then it means that some person(s) deep pockets, a Biafra sympathiser, got to him first? Who is this person, or who are these people?
Following up from that, we can ask who else these Biafra sympathizers with very deep pockets have lined up to finance following Mr Kanu’s almost inevitable time away from the public eye?
The other very important question relates to the lack of a viable counter narrative; Why has the Nigerian security services not seized on the emergence of this video as an opportunity to discredit an obviously resourceful adversary in the eyes of his followers?
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg, and are by no means exhaustive. However, it is important that we, as a people, begin to take issues such as opposing views and dissent seriously. If we want to be a democratic nation, we must understand that the mentality of certain things, or people, being sacrosanct is incompatible with the idea of democracy. Everything, at every time, must be up for debate, and must be put in its place by a superior idea.
Nigeria must remain the superior idea in its geographical region, or Nigeria will die. Being the superior idea is something that needs work to convince the denizens of the region so that they buy into it. When the only recourse you have to keep the people within the Nigerian geographical space as Nigerians is force, then it is only a matter of time before the very idea of Nigeria will fail.
On that note, I must state that the Minister of Information impressed me on Sunday when he said the Biafra protests are “completely legitimate”. It shows to me, a shift, no matter how small, in the thinking of the Nigerian establishment. Simple and short, for Nigeria to ultimately survive, we must get the people who want out to a table, those who want to talk anyway, and I am certain that most are willing to talk, and convince them of the viability of the Nigerian project.
Any other way, is not a way.
Another question that must be asked about Mr. Kanu’s sudden about-face is whether the rumours of his mental health are true? If yes, such an erratic pattern of behaviour should not surprise anyone.
Photo Credit: Vanguard.
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