Reading Rolihlahla later rechristened Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long walk to freedom” one has to remove his hat and salute the late ANC leader for spending barely three decades on Robben Island prison. For 28 years Mandela endured cruelty of Afrikaner prison guards, backbreaking labour and sleeping in minuscule prison cells which he described as “uninhabitable” all for the freedom of coloured people in South Africa.
When the Federal government arrested and incarcerated the IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and refused to release him many political analysts and commentators faulted the decision saying the Buhari led FG may end up creating a hero out of a villain. Uzo Kalu former Abia state governor for instance, warned that Buhari may end up lifting the image of Kanu from an obscure figure to a political hero. An Igbo friend and supporter of Kanu also told me that both the arrest of Kanu and the killing of Biafra agitators by the soldiers last year was a preferred script upon which the FG ignorantly acted on. The purpose of the said “stunt” was to draw sympathy of the international community. If that was really the case, the IPOB has woefully failed.
While Mandela was in prison, people from all parts of the world including citizens from the countries covertly or overtly supporting Apartheid regime in SA protested for his release. In the autobiography, Mandela wrote that many White men thought that, “Free” was Mandela’s first name because of how the word had constantly appeared before his name.
But the same world kept mum and allowed Kanu to rot away in Kuje maximum prison. While he was in detention, the supposedly saviour of Igbo race, Donald Trump, whom the Igbo vigorously supported even when his people rejected him, the person they waited anxiously to be inaugurated and declare Biafra from the Oval office, chose to snub them instead. He called president Buhari while in London for a medical trip, congratulated him for the feat he achieved in the fight against terrorism and promised to work with him. The next humiliation came from the France which was said to be among the sympathizers of Biafra during the civil war now decided to take a different stand. The French ambassador to Nigeria openly told the agitators that France is not in support of any secession attempt. Then another blow came from Britain, the country they consider as their mortal enemy for her role in the civil war. Britain also through her ambassador to Nigeria reiterated her support of one Nigeria. With these powerful countries all of them permanent members of the Security Council supporting the Buhari led government I think the dream to achieve Biafra will for now remain a dream.
The final death sentence for the IPOB was pronounced by the Kanu himself after he signed the stringent bail conditions set before him by Justice Binta Nyako. For Kanu to agree with those conditions and to leave his fellow comrades behind in prison, I will say it marked the end of an opportunist who is out to make cheap popularity not to make any positive impact.
The world’s decision to ignore Kani and his coconspirators was born out of the knowledge that there is no evidence of marginalization of Igbo in whatever form.
In a contemporary Nigeria of today, northerners dominate the political sphere, the southwesterners dominate the academia while the Igbo dominate the market, I think there is a reason for that. Northerners outnumber Yoruba and Igbo population put together and democracy is a game of number. The Yoruba embraced western education before any other tribe in Nigeria and the Igbo are industrious in nature, this summarily explains everything. So if the “contraption” as they refer to one Nigeria is sustained, the Igbo will remain dominant of the rest because both power and knowledge are nothing without economic independence. So who is marginalizing who?
None of us is enjoying Nigeria as its now but the decay is not the handiwork of a single tribe. If today Nigeria is split into six pieces the same looters in Abuja will go back to their respective piece of the country and continue from where they stop.
As for IPOB, I will advise you, if you must keep on with the agitation, you source for a new leader. Kanu is a brave-lad, a coward who can instigate his men to dare soldiers and waste their lives while he can’t endure a mere prison life. Anyway, Igbo are used to that, Ojukwu did the same to you.