• Nnaemeka Ali, O.M.I - Black and Missionary

Is Kanu the one to come, or should we expect someone else?


Once an ideology becomes dogmatic without proving its cause, it stands to fail. The Biafran cause under the leadership of Maazi Nnamdi Kanu is gradually turning into an ideology without proving its worth. The temptation will be to wave away this statement without giving it careful thought. But that will only confirm the statement. Hence, let us examine if Nnamdi Kanu is the one to come?

At the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, John the Baptist witnessed the public pronunciation of Jesus’ divine filiation. Yet, when John was sent to the prisoned, and Jesus did not come to rescue him, he felt the need to have some explanations; and sent his disciples to inquire if Jesus is indeed the awaited Messiah.

In the same way, the recent arrest of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, begs for some clarifications. It begs us to ask if he is the liberator Biafra is waiting for or we should keep looking for another one. Let us see why we think the question is essential.

The fraudulent apprehension of Maazi Kanu by the Nigerian government surprised many of us. There were different opinions. Some were wondering if he was sold out by those close to him. And others were questioning the role both the Kenyan and the British governments played in his arrest. Consequently, understanding what exactly took place is vital to comprehend his suitability for the role he appears to have been playing well.

To begin, if Kanu orchestrated his arrest, then he might be the one we are expecting. I’m not saying this because I’m an Igbo. But it is precisely how charismatic leaders play their cards.

Already, Kanu has created a cult around his person. And, in few years of his fight against the Nigerian government, he succeeded in creating a critical narrative around the Nigerian nation. But, unfortunately, every empire has a limit to its expansion. Kanu’s movement, it seems, has arrived at the apogee of its growth. It does not mean the movement can no longer progress; on the contrary, the fire is intense and grounded. But the problem is whether Kanu is still the right person to push it forward.

First, Kanu succeeded in exposing the present Nigerian government for what it is. Secondly, he has made many young people rise against the government. And finally, he also made the government lose its confidence and thus acting without thinking it through.

Unfortunately, he also made the U.K. government not interested in his cause by his repeated attack on their institution and international relationship. And with the defeat of the Israeli Nationalist Party, he also lost a (fictive but important) ally. As a result, the Biafran movement can no longer use the name of the Israeli government for its interest.

Therefore, Kanu needed to take a radical step. In the game of chess, there is a move called the Queen Sac. Queen sac is when a player sacrifices a queen to check the opponent or simply for position compensation and long-term advantages. In this move, something important ought to be offered to give a deadly blow to the opponent. The question is then whether Kanu’s arrest is the Queen Sac of the IPOB? If so, the Nigerian government should be careful not to fall for the bait.

Historically, similar baits abound in revolutionary movements. When they condemned Socrates to death, he had the possibility of running away, but he chose to die instead of abandoning his cause. And when his friend, Crito, wanted to arrange for his escape from the prison, Socrates refused, saying that if he runs, they will say he betrayed his teaching. But if he dies, he will convince more people that his plan was worth dying for. So, they unjustly executed Socrates, and his ideology expanded like wildfire.

When Jesus was preaching in the streets of Israel, he knew the danger he was facing. And when it was evident that he could die, he never ran away; instead, he took to the cross. And because of his passion for God and human liberation, we keep on following his way even after two thousand years. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and many other great revolutionaries could all be inscribed in this line of charismatic and passionate leaders.

It is in line with them that Kanu could be classed if he saw what happened to him coming. And if he did this purposely, the Nigerian government would make a monumental mistake in allowing him to die because they will make him not just a hero but a god.

And on the other hand, if Kanu inadvertently had himself arrested, then all we thought of him being wise could be questioned. I also am not saying this because I am not a fan of his method of self-realization. Instead, we know that he has waged war against this nation more than any other youth. We also know that he has afflicted more injuries to the image of this country than anyone else. It is then surprising that he could be unaware that this regime could go the extra mile to silence him.

Furthermore, if they accidentally arrested him, it either means he has no good adviser, or he does not listen to them. We might not want to believe this, but Kanu has succeeded in infuriating the Nigerian government more than everybody in this nation. And unlike great Ojukwu, who staged war against entire Nigeria, Kanu has created many factions against the ruling government. We might also not want to hear this, but Kanu is why the unknown gunmen exist. And his crusade against this government made it possible for Sunday Igboho and many other agitators to garner more supporters.

Besides, even though this government has never been serious, Nnamdi Kanu showed the world how impotent it is. And despite that their failure in security strategies has always been apparent, with the constant distractions created by Kanu, the world knows that they are clueless. For these reasons, he should have known that he is a persona non grata in this nation.

We need to understand if Kanu is the saviour we have been waiting for, or should we keep looking for another? Has he played his last card, or is he simply applying a distraction method?


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