Why Igbo Leaders Are Afraid Of KANU’s Release

If there is one man whose story constantly makes the headlines in Nigeria, it is Nnamdi Kanu, the self styled leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra...READ FULL ARTICLE

(IPOB). He was rearrested after jumping bail while answering case of treasonable felony. Following his release on bail on health grounds by an Abuja Federal High Court in April 2017, Kanu later disappeared from Nigeria after the Nigerian Army invaded his family home in Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia in October 2017. Since then, he had been making incendiary broadcasts promoting his pet project of independence for Biafra.

He also formed an armed vigilante group, the Eastern Security Network, ESN, which he said was strictly for the defence of the South East and South-South against armed pastoralist invaders. Kanu, whose original offence as charged was treasonable felony, may face more grievous charges over the attacks on security agents and institutions in the East by armed elements suspected to be acting under his command.

Kanu was hailed by many for his courage. A lot of Igbos could relate with his separatist agenda because they also feel aggrieved at the federal government’s persistent marginalization of the South-East and its people. They desire to be recognized in the scheme of things in the country. They see no reason why none of their kinsmen is considered good enough to occupy some of the sensitive and lucrative positions in government. More than anything else, they wonder if anyone from the South-East would ever be good enough to be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These and many more are some of the reasons why the Nnamdi Kanu movement flourished and grew exponentially especially among the youths.

Though Nnamdi Kanu is cooling his heels in detention, but despite his precarious situation, the man insists there is no going back on the agitation for a Biafra Nation. He says what the Igbos want is secession and he will stop at nothing until this becomes reality. But in the midst of this saga, the following questions have become recurring decimals: where are the prominent Igbo leaders? What is their stand in all of these? Why are they not throwing their weight behind their son, Nnamdi Kanu?

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Surprisingly, there has not been the kind of uproar that one expected would happen following the repeated calls for secession by the IPOB leader. While a handful of Igbos have been vociferous over the arrest of their illustrious son, many Igbo leaders and elites have been unusually silent. And many have been wondering why.

According to City People findings, one of the reasons for this seeming lack of empathy for Nnamdi Kanu’s continued detention from the Igbo leaders and elites is his knack for showing arrogance and disrespect to the leaders and elders of Igbo land. If there is one thing they all accuse Kanu of, it is his lack of respect for them.

Nnamdi Kanu, according to these elders, does not carry them along in his plans. They do not hold a prominent place in his scheme of things. He does not seek for their advice and neither does he consult with them when taking very bold steps that are binding on all of them as Igbos.

This is why till today, many of the Igbos insist they are not part of his secession plan because, as far as they’re concerned, he has not involved them and they have no idea how he intends to achieve it. It would be recalled that the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Indigbo Worldwide, also dissociated itself from the activities of the Nnamdi Kanu led movement.

There is also the issue of the lack of trust in Kanu’s methods. Many Igbo leaders and the elites are wary about his methods. They wonder why Nnamdi Kanu would go ahead to set up the armed wing of the IPOB movement, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), and unleash them on not just the nation’s security institutions but also on the Igbos themselves.

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Now, majority of Igbos live in fear of the menace of the ESN. They shut down markets, order people to stay at home and intimidate those who dare to disregard their orders. And to make things even more complicated, each time they attack security institutions, a couple of lives, usually Igbos, are lost. This has gotten many asking, why would a man who claims he is fighting for the emancipation of his people now send armed militia to kill the very people whom he claims to defend? To many, it simply does not add up.

Perhaps the biggest fear of the Igbos is what would become of their investments should they support and declare the state of Biafra with Nnamdi Kanu. The Igbos are by nature the most widely traveled Nigerians with massive investments scattered all over the Nigerian landscape and beyond. They are major stakeholders in the economy of more than half of the states in Nigeria.

From up north to the south and down to the West, the Igbos are everywhere running massive businesses and contributing their own quota to the growth of the Nigerian economy. Now, the question some of these top Igbo business men have been asking themselves is, what happens to them and their businesses and investments if Nnamdi Kanu succeeds with his agitation for Biafra? Are they ready to just stand by and watch all of their years of investments go down the drain? It doesn’t look to be an attractive proposition.

The fear of being witch-hunted by government is also another reason why prominent Igbo leaders have been silent on the Nnamdi Kanu saga. The perception of the government is that once you align with the aspirations of Nnamdi Kanu or any other ‘enemy of the state’, you have also automatically become an enemy of the state too.

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And that could spell dire consequences for you. You could have your business overrun by the government and all of your investments could go up in smokes in just a matter of seconds.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why it appears Yoruba leaders have been silent on the agitation issue championed by the recently released Sunday Igboho. But even at that, apart from the Pa Adebanjo led Afenifere group who have openly associated with Igboho, several others have declined any form of association with his aspirations.

It must be said though that even the Pa Adebanjo led Afenifere group have not been very clear as to where they stand on the issue of secession and Yoruba nation.

No one in his right senses looks forward to going to war. Many Igbo leaders cannot see how the aspirations of Biafra would materialize without a war breaking out or, at the very least a minimal bloodshed.

And of course, the majority of Igbos will do anything to avoid going on another collision with the Nigerian military. The sordid memories of the last civil war that left millions of Igbos slaughtered years ago still haunt the elders who were already born and were very nearly consumed by the war back then. It is not one experience they would love to go through a second time in their lifetime.

Nnamdi Kanu’s trial has begun. The man appears to have lost his usual air of bravado. He looked a man subdued in court. Could it be that he also feels let down by his kinsmen for their lack of support and solidarity? Has he seen the handwriting on the wall and fears he may be up against a mountain he may never be able to climb? Hopefully, with time, all of these questions will be answered...READ FULL ARTICLE

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