John Ntekim – UYO
(Available in new edition of Daily Detail Newspaper)
It would not be misleading to opine that Ekweremadu’s recent attack abroad is an evidence of IPOB’s inevitable demise.
Barely two years after the declaration of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB as a terror group and proscription of its activities by the Abuja Federal High Court in September 2017, it is obvious IPOB leaders have lost morale to operate within Nigeria, while enthusiasm has eluded some of their members, thus, the group is gradually falling in to early extinction. Moreso, its moves to secede from the Nigerian State have been constantly, roundly and aggressively countered by security forces within the country.
Notwithstanding the seeming resoluteness of pro-IPOB Igbo people in diaspora, the campaign appears to have lost steam back home, in Nigeria and the frustration resulting from the unescapeable failure of the movement is evident in various instances of intra-Igbo rifts, as well as victimization of political and thought leaders of Igbo descent, often orchestrated by disgruntled members of IPOB.
Last Saturday’s humiliation meted on immediate past Deputy President of Nigeria, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu by irate youths of IPOB in Nurnberg, which discontinued the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by Ndi-Igbo in Germany, forms one of such instances. The assault on Sen. Ekweremadu has received wide condemnation by prominent Igbo people, institutions and Nigerians, as being unjustifiable and underserved.
Consequently, the Enugu born lawmaker was compelled over the weekend, to reveal how he has so far supported many desires of the Igbo race, through various methods, including engagements with the nation’s presidency and the National Assembly, to assist members of IPOB.
Sen. Ekweremadu stated in a recent release, “…I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere, both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the presidency, as well as rallied the South East Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release, with Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East.”
Undoubtedly, Ekweremadu has no scandal or public record of betraying the interest(s) of his Igbo kith and kin, neither has he, at least to the knowledge of this writer, been associated with any activity or opinion that undermines the pertinence of any part of South-Eastern Nigeria, in his past years of involvement in politics. Hence, if the aforesaid claims by the senator are anything to go by, then it is glaring that the overbearing disappointment in an unattainable concept has caused IPOB’s resort to ingratitude, by pointing accusing fingers at its own helpers. What could be more ridiculous?
Perhaps, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his followers had wished for more physical than moral support of their agenda from the high political class in Igbo land, to which Sen. Ekweremadu belongs. Howbeit, it is unreasonable to expect an open fight for disunity of Nigeria from citizens like Ike Ekweremadu, who have drawn imeasurable benefits from Nigeria’s unity and democracy. Such citizens naturally owe the nation a moral responsibility of advocating indivisibility and cohesion, like Ekweremadu must have intended by appearing in Nurnberg in an attire drapped with the country’s Coat of Arm, which reportedly infuriated the miscreants who harassed him.
However, it is not surprising that some persons, in their sympathy with IPOB, have unsuccessfully tried to justify the assault on Sen. Ike Ekweremadu by citing the wanton killings by Boko Haram and herdsmen, and further alleging that he conspired to initiate operation Phyton Dance, carried out by the military in South-Eastern states. Nevertheless, for every right thinking individual, the attack on the renowned Igbo leader cannot be justified under any guise.
Furthermore, the modern call for secession of defunct Biafra from Nigeria by Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB is considered unpopular and unappealing to majority of southerners, compared to the original call led by Late Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, which received tremendous support across the southern region of the country and eventually culminated in the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970).
While some persons, not excluding Igbos, insist that Kanu – led agitation is completely lacking in fundamental ideology, others argue that the basic intent of Kanu and company remains unclear, especially as his flippant demeanor is suggestive of political sponsorship. This lack of viable home-rooted support base, plus stern intolerance displayed by the Nigerian government and quite a few other abounding factors, account for the inevitability of the untimely demise of IPOB.
The rapidly unfolding expiration of Biafra is unavoidable and no amount of aggression transferred on Igbo leaders can upturn it.
Additionally, it is instructive to note that while it remains an internationally recognised right of any section of a state to demand secession and subsequent Independence, the blockbuster of such demand, as seen in various parts of the world, is its overall necessity, which must be convincingly proven. Meanwhile, frivolous request to secede on grounds of inconsiderable and nugatory assertions put forth by IPOB is in itself an abuse of the right to secede.
Moreover, Biafra can only be realised on Nigerian soil, not in faraway foreign countries. Thus, the IPOB members’ resort to residing in diaspora to humiliate their elders and kinsmen, rather than set to confront the Nigerian government in pursuit of their goal is tantamount to cowardice. This, added to the unending condemnation of IPOB’s attack on Ike Ekweremadu, coming from Igbo elites, including the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, are strong indications that the fight for Biafra has lost direction and this loss of direction is the obvious beginning of the end of Biafra.
John Ntekim is an Uyo based commentator.