Opinion: IPOB, SHIA, BOKO HARAM AND NIGERIA, A TALE OF FOUR REPUBLICS IN ONE – By Lukman Umar Kankia
The skip of avengers and cattle rustlers in the list was deliberate. Theirs is a war for resource control not cession. Avengers for instance, in their heinous and barbaric modus operandi have never had the audacity to proclaim a republic of their own. Its a matter of resources. Give them money, and they will sell the struggle to you or at least you will achieve a respite for sometime.
Its the same story with the Fulani cattle rustlers. They too, claim to be fighting for resource control. I once heard their repented garrison commander, aka Buharin Daji who hitherto terrorized the whole of northwest and some parts of north central, while accepting amnesty saying they were fighting to secure grazing yards for their animals and avenge the killing of his footsoldiers by security operatives and vigilante group members. So theirs too, is not attempt to secede.
But IPOB, Shia and Boko Haram are the movements that call for serious concern.
To begin with IPOB, this menace started half a century ago, precisely in 1967 when the founder Dim Chuku Emeka Odumegu Ojukwu declared independent state of Biafra. Barely three years later in January 1970, this secession attempt was suppressed by the Gowon gallantry forces. The founder was forced into exile while his second in command, Philips Effiong and a remnant of fighters surrendered to Gowon. In his wisdom, Gowon pardoned them and even reinstated some of them into the Nigerian Army. And that was where he erred. He was supposed to charge them for treasonable offences and punish them accordingly at least to serve as deterrent to others. But he forgave them. What we are seeing today is the repercussion of that action. Whenever you killed a snake and refused to cut its head, it may one day resurrect. Over forty years later, this ugly train reared its head again. But this time under the stewardship of a new captain, His Excellency, Mazi Nmandi Kanu, half Britain, half Nigerian.
Though there was agitation for Biafra of recent years, it reached its climax when the Biafra son of the soil, Goodluck Jonathan lost presidential reelection bid to Muhammadu Buhari, son of a Fulani herdsman, the race they so much abhor.
Kanu is now languishing at Kuje Prison, but the agitation continues. His supporters openly fly the half of a yellow sun Biafra flag on Nigerian soil. A republic inside republic!
Shia republic. Founded and led by His Exellency, Ibrahim El-zakzaky who had since joined his counterpart, Kanu, in detention. Before meeting the wrath of the Buratai brutal forces, Shia had its administrative capital at Zaria with Zakzaky as overall spiritual leader and state governors in most of the states in Nigeria. They hoisted their flags and had their own jurisprudence. Shia followers pay allegiance to Zakzaky and often renounce their Nigerian citizenship. Zakzaky has his own soldiers and used to enjoy a guard of honour. Another republic inside republic!
Then the Boko Haram republic. Perhaps the most powerful of the three banana republics. Why I said so, it took Nigerian army less than three years to suppress first Biafra secession attempt and sent Ojukwu into exile. Kanu the second leader is now in detention. It also took the same Nigerian army a day or two to subdue Shia followers and arrest the leader. But day in day out, we are now in seventh year since the beginning of Boko Haram crisis but His Excellency Shekau is still at large. Still remains the spiritual leader of Boko Haram republic. Still bombing mosques and churches and issuing threats after threats. Still chopping the hands of his followers and executing them. Though the Nigerian army has severally claimed to have silenced him, he has severally resurrected. At some point Shekau’s republic controlled as much as fourteen local governments that stretched from Borno to Yobe to Adamawa. They hoisted their flags, have their own constitution, court, police and army. Another republic inside republic!
Then the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The only republic to reckon with.The most populous black nation on earth. The country that houses more than 170million citizens including God if I may barrow from Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former UN chief who said if God has nationality it must be Nigeria. Mr Ghali allegedly made the remark to buttress a point that Nigeria has in the past staved off conspiracies of disintegration.
Of course right from the day it was created through the early years of independence up to today, Nigeria has went through turbulence upon turbulence and yet overcame them. I have no iota of doubt that the country shall again overcome all its challenges. One Nigeria shall sustain and traitors shall bury their faces in shame in the mighty name of God.