Many people understand the fight that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has engaged in but many do not wholly accept how he goes about it. Fighting injustice is a noble fight which makes him to have many followers but in doing that, Kanu has arrogated to himself the leader of Igbo.
He and his Indigenous People of Biafra group (IPOB) are now the deciders and directors of the affairs in the South-east region, even when the people have no hand in appointing or electing them. The directors of the group are hired and fired at the directive of Kanu as their loyalty is to Kanu. Many people do not even know who these directors are. At least, by the snap of a finger, people should be able to name and describe the faces of those leading them but that is not what it seems.
Nevertheless, Igbo people believe in the ‘onye aghana nwanne ya’ – be your brother’s keeper, maxim. That’s why the South-east leaders should seek Kanu’s release from detention.
The way Kanu’s issue is handled, when compared to the ‘repentant’ terrorists or the bandits who some people are urging the federal government to grant them amnesty, it becomes a deliberate selective punishment for him by the federal government.
When it comes to sacrificing for a cause, Kanu has given his fair share but in the midst of these, he is single-handedly, or even unknowingly, changing the culture of Igbo people from the once strong and cerebral men and women to a radicalised emotionally weak men and women and it is not going to do the Igbo people any good.
He and his IPOB group have made the fight for Igbo revolve around them. History has not told us that Igbo had once subscribed to any form of autocratic system, rather, they subscribed to representative assembly where decisions are reached by consensus gathered from the people which are channeled through the representatives in the council that gave another maxim; oha kwuru – the people’s opinion.
What Ndigbo is witnessing is a usurpation of the voice or opinion of the people by their centralized ‘command and control’ power structure, where they hand down instructions and orders and people obey without question, some, out of fear and caution. It is decimation and changing of the age-long democratic structure of Igbo to a system of an autocratic supreme leader where even dissenting opinions are considered sabotage.
I do not blame them much, I do blame the leaders who over the years have failed the people through their inaction over the collective plight of the Igbo people and hobnobbing with those whose desire is the decimation of Igbo land and the subjugation of Igbo people. They feed on the patrimony of the Igbo and trade her interest for personal gains leaving Igbo land desolate.
As Kanu and IPOB are standing down the socio-economic activities of Igbo people at their whims, i remain curious to see their constant local and international media appearances, making case and using diplomatic channels to tell the world the true story of the injustices meted out on Igbo to garner attention to the plight of the Igbo people in Nigeria. Instead of global empathy, we may be heading to global scorn that may erode any goodwill instead of advancing the narrative against the injustice.
When it comes to constructive information war, the IPOB has not shown their capability, rather, they thrive in social media grandstanding dishing out commands, threats and insults instead of engaging and educating, which is why there is need for them to work closely with Igbo diplomatic leaders.
Apart from their undiplomatic and undemocratic nature of leadership in Igbo land, a time will come when people will ask how they fared under the autocracy of the IPOB and Kanu. What development have they brought to Igbo land? For a group so big and able to control the region, while they are asking for a referendum, many infrastructures in the South-east are falling apart. How have they pressured the governors and representatives to ensure that the region thrives? How have they shown the Igbo people an alternative to the present leadership they fight? When compared, their autocratic approach may be worse.
Kanu and IPOB must ensure that the fight for justice for Igbo people in Nigeria does not make Igbo land unsafe. Their strategy for the last few months has brought more confusion in Igbo land. The safety and well-being of the Igbo land and the people should be paramount in their strategy.
Granted that they are widely listened to by many Igbo people, they should not take that for granted. Igbo people have suffered oppression not only from the federal government but also from the leaders of Igbo and the IPOB in recent times.
Igbo land lost a lot before, during and after the war. The conscious and deliberate gains over the years must not be eroded due to so much confusion in Igbo land.