BEYOND THE ABDUCTION AND ARREST OF KANU : WHAT WENT WRONG? – RITCHIE EJIOFOR
The arrest, “abduction” and detention of MNK has produced a new challenge for the teaming members of the IPOB, their teeming supporters and sympathiZers across the world. There are divergent opinions and views on what the impact would be and, there is a semblance of consensus that the action of the government is reminiscent of the Umaru Dikko botched saga during the military rule in Nigeria.
All that has existed in Nigeria was trying to patch the dysfunction and hoping it will remain forever.
One common expression that has dominated the news media and talking point as it relates to the demand for self determination is the erroneous narrative of “The Igbos are going about it the wrong way” My question is what is the right approach or right way? There are no written stipulations in the constitution nor are there any historiographies on that stipulated or historical facts to rely upon. Therefore what MNK is doing is novel and has no FAQs. There are bound to be mistakes, but the demand itself is an inherent right that can be exercised in any federation
The month of June provided a very unique challenge to the Nigerian nation and also, the direction going forward with the agitation for self determination for the Biafrans of the former Eastern Region and other ethnic groups’ demand for self actualization. The arrest, “abduction” and detention of MNK has produced a new challenge for the teaming members of the IPOB, their teeming supporters and sympathiZers across the world. There are divergent opinions and views on what the impact would be and, there is a semblance of consensus that the action of the government is reminiscent of the Umaru Dikko botched saga during the military rule in Nigeria.
The difference however, was that while the former has never held any political position, the crux of his legal woes with the federal government was exercising his inalienable right to self determination as enshrined in the fundamental objectives of the constitution to demand equitable and fair government or in the alternative, exercise his right to self determination for his ethnic nationalities. In the latter, Umaru Dikko was wanted for corruptly enriching himself and held a position as a politician. But no matter the resemblance or difference thereof, the point of the whole matter was, and remains, whether the government acted ultra vires and without respect to the due process clause under the international laws.
I wish to make this disclaimer that my views are my personal opinion which I am solely responsible for. I would like to say that the month of June as it relates to the struggle for self actualization can be aptly referred to as “Isles of perpetual June” solely because it may bring the wind of change that may be heavenly and also full of abundant surprises.
For those who may have become fired up with the arrest of MNK, it is understandable and more importantly their anger is summed up with the recent federal government social media classification of the Biafrans/ Igbos as just a “dot”. This frustration and anger is collective and there are also a coterie of Igbos and non Igbos who interprets this as brazen attempt to frustrate, or intimidate the Igbos of their inalienable rights to peaceful co-existence or right to self determination within the federation or by any federating unit.
One common expression that has dominated the news media and talking point as it relates to the demand for self determination is the erroneous narrative of “The Igbos are going about it the wrong way” My question is what is the right approach or right way? There are no written stipulations in the constitution nor are there any historiographies on that stipulated or historical facts to rely upon. Therefore what MNK is doing is novel and has no FAQs. There are bound to be mistakes, but the demand itself is an inherent right that can be exercised in any federation. The Igbo question within the Nigeria National question has always existed and has never been addressed. It existed when Lord Lugard under took the famous pacification adventure right from the “race to Nikki” and the amalgamation in 1914 all the way from the initial introduction of Indirect rule, amended indirect rule and direct rule culminating to the 1960 administrative independence of an entity that was created as mere administrative convenience. All that has existed in Nigeria was trying to patch the dysfunction and hoping it will remain forever. It is typical of the biblical story where the Isreali elders told the congregation to listen to Moses, but they go back dancing around the golden calf”. This is what has been going on with the Igbo question within the larger Nigerian National question particularly after the civil war “ No Victor…No vanquished” Unlike many other ethnic nationalities, the Igbo society was an acephalous egalitarian society with no Empire or nation states. But the igbos have been able to forge a common united front particularly outside of Igboland. The Igbos recognized its own regardless of their distinct dialectical origins. There has become a severing of this common camaraderie among the various dialectical distinct igbo ethnic nations following the new wave of warped attitude from some social media younger generation who thinks any divergent opinion amounts to being a traitor to the Igbo cause. We have seen this happen to serving Igbo senators attacked in Nuremberg, we have seen warped attitude fatwa on the likes of Joe Igbokwe , we have seen it happen to the houses and properties looted or burnt including that of a serving State governor. The diversity of the Igbo nation is the unique strength of the Igbo people and the fermenting of a culture of “Oche bay “mentality is non-Igbolike . There is a motley crowd of young minds who are bent on instituting a new culture of overlord on the igbo custom. They fuel this through social media threats and misinformation and engaging in wilful philistinism on social media.
The main theme and fallout from the arrest/abduction of MNK is what went wrong? Could it have been avoided? How do we prevent another recurrence?. These are critical questions that must be examined and answered and the sooner the IPOB provides the answers, the sooner plans are put in place. This event has pointed out the fact that we as a people are reactionary instead of proactive . Here is what is worrisome; the leader of a group fighting for liberation was arrested or abducted and it took over 8 days for the world to know about it. How can he be abducted in a transit situation? Who knew his itinerary? Who travelled with him? Who is in charge of his intelligence detail? Who are his security bodyguards? Were they abducted too? If No, why and how? The answers to these questions are critical to knowing exactly what happened and not relying on social media for information.
It is important to know that everyday that MNK is detained, media prioritization diminishes. It is not enough for diasporans to stage marches alone, but the British media should make this their priority so also should the British citizens,
I think the Federal Government plan may be hinged on the assumption that IPOB is a one man managed organization and so now is the time for IPOB to put in place a plan B. Information about MNK and IPOB should not be sourced from MNK private lawyers only. It is time that the IPOB executives and media team engaged in diplomatic and media offensive and inform the rest of the world what they are about and what is actually going on. They should let the legal team handle the “abduction” legal dispute. The attention should focus on his detention without release, they should humanize the MNK struggle and person. In addition to MNK personal lawyers, IPOB should engage legal experts to join his (MNK’s) personal lawyers.
Ritchie Ejiofor, a commentator on National issues
Founder of Advocacy Research Institute For Transparent Democracy.
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