I am an Igbo man who is relatively up to speed in events in Nigeria and especially the ones involving the Igbo. But I must admit that I never heard of Nnamdi Kanu [image above]. I was aware that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration once announced that it has jammed Radio Biafra. I could not verify the story as I never had tuned in to Radio Biafra and cared less.
Then I heard that Nigerian State Security officers have arrested and detained Mr. Kanu the Managing Editor of Radio Biafra. It was only then that the alarm systems in me went off.
I have since then written about four articles on Mr. Kanu. New York Times, Reuters, New Delhi Times, Israeli Prime Minster, and even a British Parliamentarian have asked the British Minister for Foreign Affairs to get in touch with the PMB Administration to ask questions.
There have been demonstrations in SE and SS and abroad demanding unconditional release of Mr. Kanu. Million man marches are being planned. Mr. Kanu has become the lighting rod of Nigerian political debate as can be seen from scanning Nigerian dailies.
Up to this time people who want Biafra had been on the back ground murmuring their wishes but doing nothing. Apparently they were setting PMB up to make a mistake that would then ignite them; apparently PMB has fallen on the trap by providing the movement a leader that they have been looking for.
The formerly leaderless MASSOB and NBDM now have a rallying cry and a rallying leader made much greater they he is. He is now a lion of Judah.
How did we get to this point? It seems that the ever bumbling PMB Administration has once more wrestled defeat out of the jaws victory. PMB won a clear victory and with a vast majority of Nigerians and the world falling in love with the presumed messiah sent by God to clean up the Aegean Stable that was/is Nigeria.
In nearly half a year he has not formed a government. He has not given THE SPEECH that would tell the world where he would be going and how he intends to get there. On fighting Boko Haram all we know is that an order has been given to the armed services to wipe BH out by the end of December without any indication of how this fight would be fought.
Does PMB have information about BH and a deal with its leadership as had been previously alleged? The world will know by December 31, two months from hence. On economic policy we have heard nothing and have not seen the man or woman who would be leading this effort.
But we have heard of Biafra. We now “know” Mr. Kanu. All because PMB arapu go ihe O ga eme mebe ihe ozooo (has left what he ought to be doing and doing something else) As far as we know Kanu does not have a cork and fire Mark 4 rifle, a hand grenade, or an AK 47 or a single foot soldier or even a training ground. He just has “big grammar.”
Boko Haram has soldiers, logistical support and is holding some territories. And PMB has not made any progress against them, some people fear that gains made under GEJ has been lost. Why not concentrate all available resources to this war front?
There is no victory for PMB in the fight with Kanu no matter how the imagined fight against Biafra ends. If Mr. Kanu is tried and found guilty of High Treason, with abundance of evidence; and locked up he would still be a hero, a Mandela, and his people would be waiting for him to come out of prison to lead them to the Promised Land. South Africans waited for 29 years.
But if he is tried and found innocent, he would be emboldened and would be freer to pursue his crusade. We still remember Jomo Kenyatta and Nkrumah.
Is there a way out for PMB? Yes, and it is very simple. He should ask his Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to file a very weak charge against Kanu and provide a weak prosecution and allow the judge to dismiss the case.
He would follow it up by denying any involvement in the persecution of Kanu and let him walk. Kanu would have received his 15-minutes of fame and hopefully would not be heard from at least a while. In the meantime Biafrans would not have another leader.
Will PMB listen?
We will have to wait and see.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba, Boston, Massachusetts