IPOB, A Disaster for Biafra, By Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu
The United Nations, under its declaration of rights of indigenous people, provides citizens of member states with the right to self-determination. This right empowers every citizen to agitate for the separation of his or her region from a recognised or sovereign nation that it belongs to but which is hindering its well-being, due to political and other considerations. However, that right is not absolute as it comes with some conditions. One of those conditions is that any region that wants to enforce the provisions of the declaration must be able to prove that it is a victim of continuous persecution and established discrimination by the present state it is in. Whether the Igbo has experienced such will be a topic for another day.
Before I proceed, I want to make it clear that I am fully in support of the declaration of the rights of indigenous people but I will never encourage or support anybody or group of persons to twist the provisions of the UN declaration in order to satisfy their selfish interests.
Nnamdi Kanu, a London based dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Nigeria formed an association that addresses itself as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). This operated a faulty set of assumptions from the outset, and if I may ask: Who are the Indigenous People that Kanu claims to be leading? Who did he consult before establishing such association and who elected its executives to speak for the proposed state of Biafra? From facts available, IPOB was formed by Kanu and some other Igbos residing in London. The group also went ahead and established an underground radio station which ended up as a tool for spreading hate, falsehoods and unnecessary propaganda. I earlier wrote about the evil acts of the pirate radio, wherein I raised an alarm over the rate at which the IPOB had been using the pirate radio to poison the minds of misinformed Igbos and inciting hatred against people of other nationalities, while broadcasting falsehoods. But it was unfortunate that the government failed to promptly and effectively take action by jamming the radio’s signal on Nigerian airwaves, leading to the pollution of minds that became ready to commit suicide in the streets in the name of agitations for Biafra. I have written extensively on the acts of the pirate radio station and will now focus on the funny and deceitful acts of IPOB.
For any act of self-determination to be successful, intelligent diplomacy must be employed. However, instead of trying this out, IPOB sought to adopt the strategy of utilising touts and hoodlums. The IPOB leadership should have known that today’s United Nations would not be ready to listen to any group that refuses to employ dialogue or diplomacy in its activities. Any separatist group should know that its agenda will not be achieved without the peaceful cooperation of its present state or government. Even though there is no relationship between the controversial Brexit and the secessionist motive of IPOB, that should have taught the group that dialogue and diplomacy are key tools for achieving any separation agenda.
Instead of conducting an opinion poll in the Niger Delta region to ascertain their stand on Biafra, IPOB delights in claiming that Ijaws are their brothers and that there is nothing like Niger Delta… Yet, the militants either address themselves as Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Niger Delta Avengers, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, etc. without any of the groups attaching ‘Biafra’ to its name.
Rather than employing the required diplomatic techniques, IPOB delights in insulting persons and institutions that are supposed to be its best friends. This association insults Igbo elders, Igbo traditional rulers, South-East governors, and South-East Senators and the region’s representatives at the federal House of Representatives. It insults the Nigerian government and addresses Nigeria as a zoo, insults an elected president and addresses him as a pedophile, insults America, the United Kingdom, other world powers and even the United Nations and addresses them as enemies of Biafra. If you insult the whole world, who do you think that will push for a referendum for you? According to IPOB, Biafra will be the last miracle to happen on earth and that the miracle will be achieved without the support of the world. What a ridiculous assertion!
The most funny part is that since it’s formation, IPOB has never organised a general conference in the South-East region to discuss its objectives and plans that it has put in place to successfully manage the proposed state of Biafra but rather, it keeps insulting everybody and threatening the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Someone should please tell the IPOB that the United Nations does not joke with the territorial integrity and sovereignty of member nations. Also, IPOB is yet to tell Igbos living in other parts of Nigeria the plan it has to ensure that their investments outside Igboland will be protected if the proposed state of Biafra is achieved but instead of doing so, it uses its pirate radio station to insult them by addressing them as fools, baboons and monkeys that deserve to die because they failed to live in Igboland. Rather interestingly, the pirate radio station was not even established in Igboland but in far away London and non of the people operating it are living in Igboland. IPOB should better know that the world is a global village and no nation will ever prefer to live alone.
The IPOB has also failed to inform Igbos about the sort of government and constitution that the proposed state of Biafra will operate. How will the leaders of the proposed state be chosen? Will it run as a monarchy, a parliamentary system or a presidential executive? Where will its capital be located and will it be a secular state? The association has also failed to tell Nd? Igbo how the economy of the new state will be sustained, and till now it is not even clear if the Niger-Delta region will be part of the proposed state because the region may not afford to be a slave in their land anymore, as it experienced during the Nigerian civil war when Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu forced the Niger Delta region into the Biafran state, with that forced marriage being one of the major reasons why the Biafran cause under Ojukwu was sabotaged. Instead of conducting an opinion poll in the Niger Delta region to ascertain their stand on Biafra, IPOB delights in claiming that Ijaws are their brothers and that there is nothing like Niger Delta, while commending all the criminal acts perpetrated in the region by militants. Yet, the militants either address themselves as Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Niger Delta Avengers, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, etc. without any of the groups attaching ‘Biafra’ to its name.
If one had followed Nnamdi Kanu closely before he was arrested, one would think that he chats with Obama every other hour, yet his arrest and events after this have showed that him as merely seeking to cash in on the sentiments of his Igbo brothers over the loss of former President Jonathan at the poll in order to cause confusion and threaten the peace of the land, with the hope of getting some payment from government.
Moreover, the IPOB fails to understand that this ought to be a period for it for grassroots campaigns and professional lobbying at both the National Assembly and the United Nations, but rather than lobbying relevant stakeholders and authorities to push for a referendum, IPOB is insulting everyone and deceiving misinformed youths into committing suicide in the streets with the hope that the world is watching and will always protect, as its pirate radio usually lies to the people. For Goodness’ sake, why would a person stay away in London and instruct his brothers and sisters to celebrate the independence of a non-existing state inside the territory of a sovereign state? Not only that the IPOB leadership gave such deceitful order, it also encouraged youths to fight back the security forces if they try to stop them, and such evil and illegal instruction led to the throwing of two policemen inside the River Niger by some IPOB protesters, consequently leading to the unfortunate deaths of some protesters on May 30, 2016. The blood of the misinformed youths that died in Onitsha and Nkpor on that day will continue to be on the heads of IPOB executives, namely Uche Mefor, Emma Mmezu and Mr. Iroanya who stayed far away and ordered young bloods through radio Biafra to go and commit suicide in the name of a Biafran independence day celebration.
Also, before he was arrested, Nnamdi Kanu, not only claimed that he had the support and backing of 88 countries through the Radio Biafra, but also that the zoo would fall if he is arrested, but where is him today? IPOB has been releasing a lot of lies to misinformed Igbos and have been deceiving them through its pirate radio to believe that they are employing professionals around the world that will ensure the speedy achievement of the Biafran state. This is why many Igbos are paying monthly dues to the ridiculous association and thereby enriching Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB executives. What a fraud! No wonder why many address them as Biafrauds. If one had followed Nnamdi Kanu closely before he was arrested, one would think that he chats with Obama every other hour, yet his arrest and events after this have showed that him as merely seeking to cash in on the sentiments of his Igbo brothers over the loss of former President Jonathan at the poll in order to cause confusion and threaten the peace of the land, with the hope of getting some payment from government.
Igbos should know that IPOB is the greatest enemy of Biafra and people should see the association as a group of fraudsters and upcoming terrorists, which is why the world refuses to act on their claims and will never discuss the Biafran referendum as long as the association is concerned. If the dead and buried Biafra should be resurrected, it will certainly not be under Nnamdi Kanu or the unstructured and fraudulent IPOB. Rather, a disciplined and well structured group should take charge.
Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu writes from Awka, Anambra State.