By Fredrick Nwabufo
No man is too great for a nation to conquer. Nnamdi Kanu came into reckoning after the Buhari administration breasted the tape of victory in 2015. Before this time, he was only a cipher who trafficked in hate, conspiracy theories and supremacist ideas on the fringes of social media groups and broadcast channels. But the disaffection of a section of the south-east with the government provided him the ammunition to take his pernicious pursuit to savage heights.
As he fed his sheep with ridiculous conspiracies of how the Fulani are out to exterminate them, his flock swelled in numbers and his assets grew by leaps and bounds. The more absurdities he manufactured, the more his followers were enchanted by him. He lived on the vulnerabilities of his minions. He courted the hype, and he enjoyed the attention. But he flunked the “drug dealer’s rule” – do not get high on your own supply.
Kanu lost himself to hubris. He defied the elders; he spat on the leaders, ignored warnings and entreaties, made an enemy of associates, attacked critics, and unleashed his bloodhounds of hell on citizens and security agents in the South-East. He became defiant to reason. He became too powerful for himself. No man should wrestle with his chi.
By inciting and allegedly sponsoring deadly attacks on citizens and security agents in the south-east – through the Eastern Security Network – he lost those sympathetic to his supposed “cause” – but in the closet. Owing to the killings and turmoil in the region, elders and leaders spoke trenchantly against Biafra and IPOB for the first time – no longer tongue in cheek.
After a meeting on June 19, the governors of the South-East declared: “We, the Igbo, do reaffirm our commitment to one united Nigeria under a platform of justice, equality of rights, fairness, love and respect for one another. We condemn in totality, the activities of violent secessionist groups in South-East and elsewhere. We firmly proclaim that we do not support them; they do not speak for South-East.”
Kanu lost the plot when he took up arms against the state. He lost whatever meaning to his agitation, which is not in the interest of the Igbo by the way, when he provoked bloody attacks against citizens in the South-East. He lost it there.
A few days ago, Asari Dokubo, former Niger Delta warlord, did a broadcast vowing to “bring down the evil empire” of Kanu.
These were Dokubo’s words: “Nnamdi Kanu, I’m not in your category but for this, I will surely bring you down. I will destroy this evil empire that is working as a hindrance to the restoration of Biafra. Biafra is your business now; you have no other avenue for gainful income. It is a pity how Igbo people have fallen for this evil, but your time is up. I am out for you. And I will get you.”
It was reported in 2017 that Niger Delta militants aided the escape of Kanu from Nigeria. The IPOB leader even alleged he sent emissaries to Dokubo for a ferry away from Golgotha. Kanu jumped bail and was magicked from Nigeria – where he was facing trial for treason. He reappeared in Israel in 2018, and afterwards he moved to the UK where he is a citizen. He continued his lethal industry from there spreading poison, confusion, hate and death.
Did Dokubo make good his threat? Does he have a hand in the arrest of Kanu? Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, said on Tuesday the IPOB leader was “intercepted”.
“Self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Kanu, has been intercepted through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and Security Services. He has been brought back to Nigeria, in order to continue facing trial after disappearing, while on bail regarding 12-count charge against him. Recent steps taken by the Federal Government saw to the interception of the fugitive Kanu on Sunday the 27th day of June 2021,” Malami said in a statement.
It is not yet certain if Dokubo played a hand in the game. I had called the Ijaw leader to hear from him but did not get through. However, the former militant is known to match his words with action. Yet it is too early say.
The culminating incidents are a consequence of arrogance, lack of tact, irrationality, and ignorance on the part of Kanu.
South-East youths should desist from launching into protests and processions at this time. Some of the youths who had given in to the enchantment of Kanu have been killed. We have lost many lives. We should not lose more men.
The Federal Government must do well to follow procedure in the trial of Kanu. Despite his offence, the government must be seen to be fair-handed and not punitive. Resorting to vengeful measures could provoke unintended reactions. There should be no room for arbitrariness. Let the law take its course. Let the court decide.
•Fredrick ‘Mr OneNigeria’ Nwabufo tweets @FredrickNwabufo
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