Nigerian Army: lions in the Southeast against IPOB but house cats in Maiduguri: who's fooling who?
The chicken which is hard of hearing ends up inside Mummy's soup pot, the saying goes. That has been the case with Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the recently proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Kanu came into national consciousness when he floated Radio Biafra in London through which he spewed forth anti-Nigeria sentiments, while propagating his dream Biafra Republic.
He would later enter Nigeria where he walked into the waiting hands of security agents who snapped him up as fast as a hungry lizard snaps up an unwary insect. Why Kanu would literally submit himself ''voluntarily'' like that to the Nigerian Government had really confounded a lot of people. Here was a man whose guts had irked the Nigerian Government which made no bones about its desire to get hold of him. He was immediately detained and only reluctantly granted bail months after, following a deluge of condemnations of the way he was treated.
In the vanguard of those who cried and shouted for his release were eminent Igbo leaders that included, the governors of the Southeast, past governors, legislators and leaders of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
When Kanu was given stringent and almost impossible bail conditions, it was the same people that rallied round to help him meet those conditions and he was released. Everybody was happy. It appeared as though the Igbos had begun to learn their lessons, especially as it concerned rallying round one another and speaking in one voice.
The expectations then were that Kanu would stick close to the Igbo elders and also speak with one voice with them. But alas, it turned out that Kanu had a different agenda. He systematically went about challenging those elders and appeared to derive fun from holding parallel positions. He began to enjoy the support of a section of Igbo society that can be said to be of lower class. They saw him as a god and treated him as such. Who, indeed, can forget the picture of an admirer prostrating before Kanu who seemed to administer blessings on the man?
It was clear that the way Kanu was going, he would turn out to be a monster we all created but would no longer be able to control. He became law unto himself and began to make wild pronouncements. One of them was the one against the holding of governorship election in Anambra State.
Despite entreaties to him by wiser and older people to simmer down, he went on with his firebrand agitation. He defied all his bail conditions and continually distanced self from the people that mattered. He became an island unto himself and surrounded himself with praise singers and overzealous admirers. Those who advised him became enemies and were vilified and threatened.
I remember writing here that Kanu was becoming dangerous. I had titled it, ''Kanu, a Mistake that can still be Corrected''. In that piece, I advised him against throwing caution to the winds and biting the hands that saved him from rotting away in detention. But my reward was the hurling of invective on my person by Kanu's bandoleros.
I advised him to go low and listen to the elders. I told him that he had done his best by bringing our matter before the consciousness of the world through being a circumstantial hero. I advised him to, at that point, take a bow and sit back, while those who had a better capacity to take the struggle to better conclusions took over thenceforth. Kanu and his gang did not listen.
Instead, they went on with their aggressive agitation, risking their lives and dying needlessly. We were not happy. Their actions soon triggered the ''second invasion'' of Igbo Land by Nigerian forces under ''Operation Egwu Eke''. It was clear they had only one mission: to stop Kanu. They have just done it. But it wasn't without the spilling of innocent blood. The blood spilled would have been avoided if they hadn't fallen for Kanu's sweet tongue.
The federal government and the Southeast governors banned the activities of IPOB. The FG, in particular, proclaimed that IPOB was a terrorist organization. This was followed later by a federal high court proscribing IPOB. The final seal on their fate had been made.
Now, Kanu is nowhere to be found. While a report had it that he escaped through the Cameroons, another had it that he was in the net of the soldiers. Yet another report had it that Kanu had been killed by the invading forces. As at press time, no one was nearer to knowing the truth about Kanu's condition. But that is not the main purpose of this piece.
The main issue is that Kanu embarked on a destructive mission. Yes, he had/has a point. The Igbo Nation which has given so much to Nigeria's development has received very little in return. Rather than get what they deserved, they had been maimed, killed and had their property looted and/or confiscated, as the case may be, in the past. Abandoned property on my mind.
The Buhari administration has visited the Igbos with what one can describe as an unveiled hatred. Appointments have been lopsided, with Ndigbo not being made to feel like Nigerians. Even the recent nationwide railroad project bypassed the Igbo Nation, despite the Igbos being the chief drivers of commercial activity in the country.
The Fulani herdsmen have been on the rampage here and in other places, destroying property and taking life. The FG is yet to arrest a single one of them.
When the Arewa youths caused a national outrage by issuing the infamous quit order to Igbos in the North, the Kaduna State Government and the Inspector-General of Police gave orders for their arrest. But three days after, the same people were on a live TV programme trying to justify their quit order. Many thought that it was a good opportunity for the police to arrest them. But they did not. Why should they? The Arewa youths knew, and still know, that they owned the country.
Now, the IPOB group has merely agitated for their rights in the country and they have been branded terrorists. This was justified by the army by the throwing of stones by IPOB youths at a military tank. So, assuming that throwing stones at a military tank amounted to terrorism, what about those who shoot and hack people to death after destroying their farmlands with their cattle?
These herdsmen were earlier branded the world's fourth largest terrorist group by the United Nations. Yet, the FG never heard that. They hardly raise their voice when the herdsmen kill fellow Nigerians. The FG is not disturbed by the fact that the Fulani herdsmen go about with AK-47 rifles. Yet, for merely throwing harmless stones at a military tank, IPOB became a terrorist organisation. That is Nigeria for you.
That justified the invasion of the army and the attendant bloodletting and intimidation/brutalization. But the soldiers who come here to flex their muscles and appear larger than life, are the same men who cower in fear in the battle zones of the North East.
We all know that the Sambisa Forest is the place where the Boko Haram people have as their sanctuary. But it took the army many years to even get to first base there.
But see how the same army has suddenly found its mojo in Abia, just because they are dealing with a civilian population. In Maiduguri, they cower and hide like scared rabbits, only to come here to become as meek as cats as the picture in this piece illustrates.
They seem to be become supermen in the Southeast, intimidating and brutalising everyone, but in the North where they fight Boko Haram, they are reduced to rats that dive into a hole once they hear the sound of approaching feet.
Now that the deed has been done, that is the recent developments concerning IPOB, we have to move on from here. The IPOB people have made their mistakes and they have been adequately punished by the FG and even by their brother governors.
But, as has been noted, the cause for which Kanu is known; the Biafra cause, remains good. What constitutes a problem is the way some people are going about it. That was the problem with Kanu. Now that the wind has blown and the A-Z of this matter has panned out, let's hope that common sense will prevail as we undertake the rest of the struggle.
We may not achieve a physical Biafra, but we can make things work in the Biafran enclave called the Southeast by getting our priorities right.
Enter the Southeast governors, Ohaneze and elders of Igbo Land.