Biafra and Kanu: Foretelling the Possible End

Image

By Omoshola Deji

Nigerian ethnic groups are enduring the pains, rather than enjoying the gains of unity. From 1960 to date, successive governments, both the militarily imposed and the democratically elected, has declared Nigeria’s unity non-negotiable. Double-edged, the willingness to retain a united Nigeria is contrasted by the unwillingness to allow the nationalities negotiate their terms of cohabitation. This inflames the countrywide demand for political-economic restructuring and the quest for Biafra in Southeast, Nigeria.

Championing the immediate struggle for Biafra secession is Nnamdi Nwanekaenyi Kanu – the former director of the London-based Radio Biafra and recently dismissed leader of the proscribed secessionist movement – the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The Nigerian military’s invasion of Kanu’s home and IPOB’s proscription as a terrorist group is generating controversy and anxiety in the polity. In any case, Kanu has only been declared missing, not dead. The mere speculations of death, without prove, cannot halt research and analysis on Kanu’s struggle for Biafra, it rather strengthens it.

This piece sets sights on foretelling how Kanu and the struggle for Biafra would ultimately end. A recount-before-analysis approach is adopted to cover the essentials and curtail ambiguity. The struggle of late minority rights activists and secessionist leaders is then examined to foretell the possible end of Kanu and Biafra.

For history, Odumegwu Ojukwu declared Eastern Nigeria a sovereign nation named the Republic of Biafra in 1967, battled the Nigerian army for three years and surrendered Biafra in 1970.

Kanu wilfully assigned himself the duty of accomplishing Ojukwu’s failed mission. He crusades that Biafra restoration is the only solution to Southeast’s marginalization. In no time, Kanu’s popularity rose steeply and the drumbeat of secession resonated into President Muhammadu Buhari’s ears. The dictator turned democrat civilly wields the big stick! Kanu was arrested for treason and other related offenses on October 14, 2015. After prolonged detention without charge, the court ordered Kanu’s release on bail, but the state kept him in custody.

Buhari famed Kanu. The state’s wilful disobedience of court order earned Kanu sympathy among the Southeasterners who largely grades Buhari as sectional and anti-Southeast. If Kanu was freed when he perfected his first bail conditions, he probably won’t have gained the kind of compassion that astoundingly transformed into support and discipleship in the Southeast.

After scores of protests and legal wrangle, Justice Binta Nyako, on April 25, 2017, granted Kanu a fresh bail on the key conditions that he must not be seen amidst a crowd of more than ten persons, must not grant interviews, hold or attend rallies. Kanu fearlessly dishonored the bail conditions and continued his advocacy for Biafra after he was freed. He called for referendum, but allegedly threatened war, berated other ethnic factions and purveyed hate.

Kanu rationalized his bail flout on emulating Buhari – the president who “does not obey court orders”. Fact checked, Buhari is still disobeying the order to release the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the Shi’a Muslim cleric, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Reminiscent of a chain-smoker irritated by smoke, the same Buhari government that dishonor court orders implored the court to revoke Kanu’s bail.

The wheels of justice grind too slowly for Buhari’s military oriented, democratic government to hope on. On September 10, 2017, the military invaded Kanu’s home and reportedly left their – Fela Kuti’s asserted – regular trademark: sorrows, tears and blood. Kanu has since been out of sight. There is more to his disappearance than meets the eye. He is either dead, in solitary confinement, or has absconded when the military overpowered the IPOB members that formed human-shield round his house.

Mind boggling, could an outspoken Kanu ever abandon his supporters at such a crucial moment, forsaking them to die of state’s bullet? Could an outspoken Kanu ever keep mute on IPOB’s proscription as a terrorist organization? While these questions await answers, a major pointer that Kanu is alive emerged. IPOB sacked him as the director of Radio Biafra. Concurring with the arguments of rights activists and senior lawyer, Festus Keyamo, after declaring the army killed Kanu, did IPOB wake him from the grave to question him over allegations of inciting violence and misappropriation of funds before sacking him? Presumably alive, what would be the ultimate end of Kanu?

Kanu may end like Isaac Adaka Boro (1938-68). Boro fought for the emancipation of the Niger-Delta, decades before it became a popular catchphrase. The new generation activists – including Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom and Government Tompolo – only picked the baton to finish the race that consumed Boro. The oil firms and state’s exploitation of the Niger-Delta frustrated Boro to declare an independent “Niger Delta Peoples Republic” on 23 February, 1966. Boro’s armed militia, the Niger-Delta Volunteer Force, battled the Nigerian army for twelve days before losing out.

Boro took up arms against the state and later picked up arms to fight for the state. On the eve of Nigerian civil war, the then head-of-state, retired Gen Yakubu Gowon released Boro from jail and enrolled him as a Major in the Nigerian Army to fight against Biafra. Boro fought gallantly, but was mysteriously killed in active service after he liberated the Niger-Delta from Biafra.

To the point, if Boro who once confronted the state could be tricked, used and allegedly killed by the state, Kanu may end up in a similar situation. The power-hungry opposition party may brainwash Kanu that he would get Biafra or juicy political appointment if he uses his influence to ensure the Southeast vote for the party. Kanu may later be silenced with death or relegated – like the All Progressives Congress, APC, is doing to Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar – once the party gains control of power.

Into the bargain, if Tinubu’s henchmen withdraw their support for Buhari in the Southwest, the APC might opt to win the southeast in 2019 through Kanu. Cast no doubt, if a strong-willed Boro could work for Gowon, never boast that Kanu cannot work for the APC in the future.

Boro died fighting for the recognition of minority rights in the Niger-Delta, but the people are still suffering amidst surplus. Kanu too may die for Biafra and the struggle would continue for decades without Biafra coming to pass.

Kanu may end like Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-95). Saro-Wiwa wrote passionately against the oil exploitation, environmental degradation and human rights abuses in Ogoni. He swapped Boro’s gun for pen by declaring to his people that “I do not want any blood spilt, not of an Ogoni man, not of any strangers amongst us. We are going to demand our right peacefully, non-violently and we shall win”. Despite being non-violent, the Sani Abacha military regime could not tolerate or negotiate with Saro-Wiwa. He was silenced with death!

The Abacha government accused Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists of instigating the riot that led to the murder of four Ogoni chiefs. It was widely reported that Saro-Wiwa did not participate in the riot because the military had denied him entry into Ogoni on the riot day. After nine months in detention, the Ogoni-nine were arraigned before a tribunal that sentenced them to death-by-hanging on October 31, 1995. In the face of public outcry and global plea for clemency, the Abacha government hanged Saro-Wiwa and the eight activists on November 10, 1995.

One may argue that such gruesomeness is not possible under a democratic government, but if the court, for instance, hands Kanu a death penalty in his ongoing treason trial, the state may hurriedly execute him on judicial grounds, when all means of appeal are exhausted.

Buhari and Abacha are former military dictators. It is thus quite possible for the military that “publicly” executed Saro-Wiwa (under Abacha) to secretly execute Kanu (under Buhari) when soldiers invaded his home. If Saro-Wiwa was executed for an offense he (possibly) didn’t commit, Kanu too can be later accused and indicted for same. The state forces that are desperate to silence him and the politicians displeased with his rising popularity may use the Judas among his disciples to frame him up on crimes such as murder or illegal arms importation.

Kanu may end or might have ended his desire for Biafra like Ojukwu. If a gallant military officer like Ojukwu could abscond into exile, leaving the Southeasterner’s to languish in anguish at the height of the civil war, it is possible that a diaspora returnee and city dweller like Kanu might have absconded and possibly bowed cheaply to the superior force of the Nigerian state.

Ojukwu and Kanu aimed for Biafra but their style of steering secessionist movement differs. Ojukwu showed bravery by backing his Biafra declaration with action. In contrast, Kanu seems lost in focus. Challenging elites that are not willing to disintegrate or allow for referendum goes beyond rants and threats. Kanu’s actions have so far revealed that he lacks the essentials needed to restore Biafra. His uncouth orations also show he lacks the maturity.

As observed in Africa, Kanu may help free Biafra from Nigeria and hold on to it as Mugabe did in Zimbabwe. Secession doesn’t guarantee peace and equity. Biafra may disintegrate to grapple with ethno-religious violence and a survival economy like that of the Central African Republic. Biafra may secede to know no peace. It may be another South Sudan that gained independence, only to start another round of ethnic violence and civil war.

On the other hand, Kanu may end up being a replica of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew. He may, by luck or circumstance, get Biafra and swiftly transform it from an underdeveloped nation to a developed one. Biafra may later develop to the envy of Nigeria; just as Singapore is more developed than Malaysia.

So long as the Buhari government insists that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable, our cohabitation must be constantly negotiated to reflect equity and fairness. Rational distribution of power and resources is breath for the survival of Nigeria. Force, intimidation and harassment would not end the agitation for Biafra. Secession can only be averted if Nigeria is restructured for the minority to enjoy rights.

Kanu would either conquer Nigeria or be consumed by Nigeria. One or the other, his silence must not be misjudged. He is either busy strategizing his comeback or his mission to disintegrate Nigeria has died in him, or with him.

Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via [email protected]

Share
Related Stories
Image
27-February-2024

Collaboration and Productivity Trends to Adopt in 2024

Kehinde Ogundare Given the significant challenges both the Nigerian and global economies face, businesses have had to work harder than ever to survive, ensure business continuity, and stay competitive over the past few years. One of the key aspects that businesses had to focus on in this regard was improving employee collaboration and productivity to manage staff experiences in the workplace amid all the challenges across the tech landscape. While some of the pressures may ease in 2024 with more awareness of technology, it’s unlikely that it will all be plain sailing for businesses. Naira to Dollar fluctuation remains an

Image
30-January-2024

What You Need to Know About Navigating Contract Challenges in 2024

By Kehinde Ogundare There is absolutely no doubt that collaboration is crucial to business success in today’s world. That applies to work done within organisations. However, effective collaboration between different organisations can be incredibly beneficial, too. Some of the biggest brands in the world have seen significant marketing and revenue boosts through innovative collaborations with other brands. One thing that’s common across successful collaborations is a detailed, watertight contract. Such contracts not only ensure both parties understand and stick to their particular roles but also play an important role from a legal and regulatory compliance perspective. Thanks to last year’s

Image
13-February-2024

Aleph Presents Unique Strategies to Grow Business This Ramadan

As Muslims around the world get ready to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, Aleph (formerly known as Ad Dynamo by Aleph) presents insights for businesses on how best to leverage Meta platforms for business growth. Did you know that… Ramadan’s focus on community and connection also enables brands to connect in a unique way with the audience? The research also shows that 91% of social media users in Nigeria like to see content that promotes community and togetherness on Facebook and Instagram. Advertising that respects and highlights Ramadan’s traditions, businesses can enter the conversation in a new and positive

Image
20-February-2024

Navigating the Complexities of Media Monitoring: Strategies for Effective Brand Media Intelligence Gathering

By Philip Odiakose In today’s media landscape, the ability to monitor and analyze media coverage is crucial for brands seeking to stay ahead of the competition and maintain their reputation. However, the sheer volume and diversity of media sources, coupled with the ever-evolving nature of communication channels, present significant challenges for effective media monitoring. As the Chief Media Analyst at P+ Measurement Services, a leading Media Monitoring and Intelligence consultancy, I have firsthand experience in navigating these complexities. In this article, I will share key strategies for successfully gathering brand media intelligence amidst the intricacies of modern media environments. 1. Define

More Stories
Image
29-June-2021

Adedoyin Praises Gbajabiamila Over Financial Responsibility

By Henry Ovie A leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr Adeyinka Adedoyin, over the weekend extolled the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, for his unassailable character, visionary leadership and selfless service to humanity. “Femi Gbajabiamila is a selfless, pragmatic and humble leader,” Mr Adedoyin said. He also praised the presiding officer of the House of Representatives for seeking higher values such as justice, discipline and patriotism. In his message of congratulation on Mr Gbajabiamila’s birthday, the politician commended the National Assembly for making ministries and agencies in Nigeria to behave more

Image
21-October-2023

Obi of Onitsha Steps Down as Unilever Nigeria Chairman

By Dipo Olowookere The Obi of Onitsha, Mr Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, is leaving as the chairman of the board of Unilever Nigeria Plc, a statement from the organisation has revealed. The prominent traditional ruler is resigning from the position after being on the board of the firm for over 20 years. According to the notice signed by the company secretary, Mrs Afolasade Olowe, the monarch will cease to be a non-executive director and chairman of the leading consumer goods company from December 31, 2023. He was first appointed to the board in March 2003, according to the disclosure made available

Image
02-September-2016

NPA Bans Jeans Trousers, Miniskirts

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Authorities of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have banned the wearing of jeans trousers and miniskirts by members of staff. The NPA disclosed violation of this rule would be met with heavy sanctions. Apart from jeans trousers and miniskirts, the NPA also banned the wearing of tummy and navel shirt transparent/exposing outfits, spaghetti strapped dresses, mismatched clothes, rubber slippers, tattered shoes and rough hairstyles. The NPA said the appropriate dress code for its employees should be any decent, moderate and smart national and formal English wears. According to NPA’s General Manager, Human Resources, Y.G Bukar, “It [was]

Image
05-June-2023

Africa’s Rise in Technology is Unstoppable—Sanwo-Olu

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has declared that Africa’s rise in technology is unstoppable, noting that his state will continue to play a prominent role in the ecosystem. The Lagos Governor made this declaration at the GITEX Africa Digital Summit in Morocco, where the state government sponsored 25 startups in partnership with the Dubai World Trade Centre to demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. GITEX Africa Morocco is Africa’s largest and most influential tech and startup event, renowned for showcasing technological advancements, innovations, and digital transformation. The event provided a platform for

Image
04-April-2023

Naira Loses Over N2 Against Dollar at Official Market

By Adedapo Adesanya Over N2 was lost by the Naira to the United States Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Monday despite a decline in the value of FX trades. Data obtained by Business Post from FMDQ Securities Exchange, the platform used for tracking the performance of the local currency in the official forex window, showed that the Nigerian currency depreciated against the greenback yesterday by N2.12 or 0.46 per cent to settle at N463.50/$1 compared with last Friday’s exchange rate of N461.38/$1. This happened amid a 6.9 per cent or

Image
11-December-2018

EFCC to Arraign Fidelity Bank MD, First Bank Director December 17

By Dipo Olowookere Monday, December 17, 2018 has been fixed for the arraignmentof an executive director at First Bank, Mr Dauda Lawal. Also to be arraigned is the ManagingDirector of Fidelity Bank, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo. The duo are expected to be dragged before Justice MuslimHassan of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for allegedly assisting formerMinister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, conceal $153million in 2015. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is taking the accused persons to court, has levelled a 14-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering against them. The anti-graft agency said Messrs Okonkwo

Image
23-May-2017

DStv Compact Subscribers Get Special Treat

By Modupe Gbadeyanka MultiChoice has announced opening two channels on its premium package to its DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus subscribers as a way of rewarding them for their loyalty. The gesture is coming under its Open Window and it will run from May 29 to June 23, 2017. A statement from the firm said DStv Compact Plus customers will be able to enjoy the laughs on Comedy Central (DStv channel 122), (which is only on Premium and Compact), and some interesting insights and History lessons on History (DStv Channel 186) and Discovery Channel (DStv Channel 121). According to

Ad
Ad
Recent Stories
Image
02-March-2024

Endosurvivors Foundation Set For Another Endometriosis Awareness

By Adedapo Adesanya EndoSurvivors International Foundation (ESIF), an NGO championing endometriosis awareness in Nigeria, has announced its upcoming events in commemoration of the Global Endometriosis Advocacy Month in March, fondly tagged March4Endo by advocates all over the world.  Endometriosis is a chronic and inflammatory condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 girls and women in Nigeria and on a global scale. This sums up to about 190 million affected girls/women around the world, about the population of Nigeria in 2018.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes that endometriosis has significant social, public health, and economic implications leading to a decrease

Image
02-March-2024

CSCS, FrieslandCampina Lift NASD OTC Bourse by 0.31%

By Adedapo Adesanya The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the positive territory after it gained 0.31 per cent on Friday, March 1, thanks to the duo of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc and FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc. CSCS Plc added 81 Kobo to its value to sell for N19.46 per unit compared with the preceding day’s N18.65 per unit, and FrieslandCampina improved by N1.15 to settle at N71.4o per share, in contrast to Thursday’s closing price of N70.25 per share. However, Aradel Holdings Plc continued its price depreciation yesterday as it shed N6.75 to sell at N2,395.00

Image
02-March-2024

Naira Now N1,548.25 at Official Market, N1,560/$1 at Black Market

By Adedapo Adesanya The Naira sustained its gradual recovery against the US Dollar in the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) on Friday, March 1, appreciating by 2.94 per cent or N46.86 to sell at N1,548.25/$1, in contrast to the N1,595.11/$1 it was traded on Thursday. Also, in the spot market, the Nigerian currency improved its value against the Pound Sterling during the trading day by N90.13 to close at N1,956.06/£1 versus the previous day’s N2,046.19/£1 and against the Euro, it gained N76.39 to trade at N1,675.25/€1, in contrast to the N1,751.64/€1 it closed a day earlier. The supply of

Image
02-March-2024

Crude Oil Jumps 2% as Traders Sight Possible OPEC+ Cuts

By Adedapo Adesanya Crude oil appreciated by about 2 per cent on Friday as traders awaited a decision from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) on supply agreements for the second quarter. Yesterday, the price of Brent futures went up by $1.64 or 2 per cent to $83.55 per barrel and the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose by $1.71 or 2.19 per cent to $79.97 a barrel. For the week, Brent added around 2.4 per cent while WTI gained more than 4.5 per cent. Analysts noted that the expectation that OPEC+ is going to

Image
02-March-2024

NGX Indices Nosedive by 1.23% as Traders Resume Profit-Taking

By Dipo Olowookere The bears made a quick return to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited after leaving the stage for the bulls for a day as investors reassessed the impact of the hike in the benchmark interest rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday on their investments. On Friday, the key performance indicators of the bourse closed lower by 1.23 per cent as a result of renewed selling pressure, especially in the energy and industrial goods sectors. Business Post reports that at the close of transactions on the first trading session of March 2024, the industrial goods

Image
01-March-2024

CBN Revokes Operational Licences of 4,173 BDC Operators [FULL LIST]

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The operational licences of 4,173 Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators have been revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). A statement signed by the acting Director of the Corporate Communications Department of the apex bank, Mrs Hakama Sidi Ali, on Friday disclosed that the action was taken because the affected BDCs did not adhere to regulatory provisions. The central bank said the BDCs did not pay all necessary fees, including licence renewal, within the stipulated period in line with guidelines. It also said they failed to give account of returns in line with the guidelines, and

Image
01-March-2024

BREAKING: Popular Yoruba Comic Actor Sisi Quadri Dies

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A popular Yoruba comic actor, Mr Tolani Quadri Oyebamiji, otherwise known as Sisi Quadri, has died, according to reports. However, the cause of his death is still unclear as of the time of filing this report. There are speculations that he briefly fell ill before his passing, though he was seen publicly some months ago with a fellow comic actor, Sanusi Izihaq, who is well-known as Apa or Apankufor. Sisi Quadri, who died at the age of 44, was recently gaining fresh public attention with his comic act with Apa and others. His demise has hit the

Image
01-March-2024

Transcorp Power to List Shares on Nigerian Exchange March 4

By Dipo Olowookere Another power generating company will join Geregu Power Plc on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Business Post has gathered. The new firm joining the nation’s flagship stock exchange is Transcorp Power Plc, a company owned by businessman and Chairman of UBA Plc, Mr Tony Elumelu. Information reaching this newspaper is that Transcorp Power is listing its shares on the NGX by introduction on Monday, March 4, 2024. The organisation is taking to the stock market about 7,500,000,000 units of its equities at N240.00 each, increasing the total value of the local equity market by N1.8 trillion. Its

Image
01-March-2024

Risevest Suspends Crypto Payment as Clampdown Intensifies

By Adedapo Adesanya Foreign stocks trading and investment firm, Risevest, has voluntarily announced a temporary suspension of cryptocurrency assets in Nigeria until the current wave of clampdown on operations settles. In a notice sent to customers on Friday and seen by Business Post, the platform said users won’t be able to fund their wallets using cryptocurrency as it allowed. The company revealed that it noticed that there has been an uptick in funding and possible gaming of the system, and warned against this. “We’re temporarily suspending crypto funding on Rise for users in Nigeria, pending clarity on the regulatory landscape.

Image
01-March-2024

Foreign Capital Into Nigeria’s Energy Industry Plunges 42.8% to $3.64bn in 2023

By Adedapo Adesanya Foreign capital inflows, which gauges the level of foreign investment into the country, through the Nigerian oil and gas industry in 2023 dropped by 42.8 per cent to $3.64 million from the $6.37 million recorded in 2022. This is contained in the latest data obtained from the Nigeria capital importation report for the fourth quarter of 2023 released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The NBS revealed that total foreign capital inflow into the oil and gas sector in 2023 accounted for 0.09 per cent of total foreign capital inflow into the Nigerian economy in