For eleven months now, the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has remained an enigma to most people in Nigeria, until last Friday, October 19, 2018, when Kanu was shown in a video clip worshipping in Jerusalem.
The Nigerian Army had in an exercise code-named “Operation Python Dance II” invaded Kanu’s Afara-ukwu country home in Umuahia, Abia State, aimed at dealing a deadly blow to Kanu and silencing the “enfant terrible”, who had remained a thorn in the flesh to the Muhammadu Buhari led federal government of Nigeria.
Many people were reported to have been gunned down in that exercise. In the process, Kanu and his father, who also is the traditional ruler of the community, suddenly disappeared into thin air.
Since then, there have been blame games between the Nigerian Army, which invaded Kanu’s residence, and Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, who stood surety for the release of Kanu, before the judiciary, which granted bail to Nnamdi Kanu, over who should produce the IPOB leader following his sudden disappearance.
Kanu and his group were peeved over what they believed was the long neglect, or poor treatment of the Igbo in Nigeria, and had reasoned that the only way out was for the people to separate themselves from the country and chart their own independent existence.
They advocated for a referendum among the people who they considered were “Biafra people”, to authenticate their claim that majority of the people were in support of leaving Nigeria.
They insisted that there was no need conducting any further elections in Nigeria until a referendum was held to determine where the people wish to belong. In the process, they called for the boycott of the Anambra State gubernatorial election billed for 2017, as well as any future elections in Nigeria.
But the Buhari led federal government was not amused. They were not comfortable with Kanu and his IPOB members, and in consequence, arrested and detained Kanu and some of his Confederates for several months, while shunning or rejecting various judicial orders for their release.
The September 2017 invasion of Kanu’s residence in Umuahia by the Nigerian Army was perhaps aimed at capturing Kanu and deal with him once and for all. But the man miraculously escaped.
Notwithstanding, the Nigerian Federal Government went ahead to proscribed IPOB, and declared it a terrorist organization, even when the group had possessed no gun nor machete.
The return of Nnamdi Kanu on the eve of next year’s general elections could be viewed from two different perspectives, supposing that the man may want to play a role in the 2019 elections.
As we are already aware, Nnamdi Kanu has a cult-like followership, particularly among millions of unemployed youths in the country, a bad testimonial to the government that has failed to provide for its youths. Majority of these unemployed youths virtually worship him as god and see him as their hero. They pay attention to whatever he tells them without question.
Bearing this in mind, if Nnamdi Kanu wants to stick to his earlier position that members of his group would not participate in any election in Nigeria until a referendum is conducted, it then means that the man would be working for Muhammadu Buhari, and would want him to remain in power. This is because majority of those who want Buhari out of office are perhaps from the areas where Nnamdi Kanu has large following.
Therefore, if these people did not vote or were prevented from voting, it then means that Buhari would garner votes from the other sections of the country and would comfortably coast home to victory. In other words, boycott or no boycott, elections must hold, and somebody must be declared winner.
But, if on the other hand, Nnamdi Kanu’s target is that Buhari must go, and perhaps, one or two governors in the South East who he did not like their faces, then, he would be mobilizing members of his group to vote out Buhari in the next elections, believing that the Atiku\Obi ticket with their gospel of restructuring, is next to the Biafra he is demanding.
In next few days we may be seeing what Nnamdi Kanu has in mind, believing that the man will have a better judgment this time around.
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