Nnamdi Kanu is a man that is beguiled in controversy. He is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB). He is a man that is hated by a section of Nigeria, loved mostly by his tribe and feared by those in authority who see him as a threat to Nigeria’s unity. No matter your status, you will always have a perception about Nnamdi Kanu.

Is Nnamdi Kanu a terrorist, a freedom fighter or a coward?
To answer this question, you need to consider the meaning of each word and how they imbibed to the current Nigerian society that breeds the likes of Nnamdi Kanu. He is the product of his society, and like most people who are frustrated with the injustice and marginalisation they witnessed in an unresponsive government, they are willing to take their destiny into their hands. Here, IPOB raised its monstrous head and the Nigerian government was astounded.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a nationalist separatist group in Nigeria that aims to restore the Republic of Biafra, a country which seceded from Nigeria prior to the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) and later rejoined Nigeria after its defeat by the Nigerian military. It was founded by Nnamdi Kanu. IPOB don’t believe in one Nigeria, they don’t sing the National Anthem nor recite the Pledge. They only listen to their leader and the mistake that the Nigerian government made was to proscribe them as a terrorist group. There is a difference between terrorists and freedom fighters.

But what motivated Nnamdi Kanu to form IPOB?
He wanted to restore the sovereign State of Biafra. And he has reasons. The Nigerian government failed in all ramifications! Unequal distribution of positions is a major characteristic of the federal government. A country where the president, Senate President, Chief Justice, Chief of Army Staff and other federal ministers are from the north. Boko Haram are killing people on a daily basis, herdsmen are destroying villages and killing people without being arrested , etc. Many things are wrong with the country and as a result, Nnamdi Kanu seeks for self-determination. But it will come with a price.

Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on 14 October 2015, but he later jumped bail. He was rearrested and extradited to Nigeria from Kenya on 29 June 2021. He has been kept in DSS custody ever since and has had numerous bail applications rejected with his case being adjourned numerous times. In retaliation, IPOB started enforcing sit at home in the eastern region in a bid to cripple the economy and force the Nigerian government to release him. Recently, the Court of Appeal discharged Nnamdi Kanu. But will the Nigerian government agree to let him go? The federal government is infamous for disobeying court orders.

But if Nnamdi Kanu is released, will Igbo still have the chance to produce the next president of Nigeria? Or will Nnamdi Kanu jeopardise Peter Obi’s presidential ambition?
We are watching. The Igbo can’t have both Biafra and an Igbo president. And when it comes to marginalisation, the Hausa are the most marginalised tribe in Nigeria. No Hausa man has ever ruled Nigeria. But if we are to dwell on rotation, then it’s the turn of the Igbo to produce the next president of Nigeria.

In my opinion, Nnamdi Kanu is not a terrorist. He is a freedom fighter. The real terrorists are the Boko Haram that are killing people on daily basis and yet, the federal government is rehabilitating and releasing them back to the society. The herdsmen destroyed villages and farmlands and no arrest has been made. The government failed the people and it’s their failure that produced the likes of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB.



Echo Otokpa
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