Nuremberg OutComing and the political blunder: Matters Arising. By Ritchie Ejiofor
Let me first of all state that I am not a member of IPOB (Indigenous People Of Bịafra) nor do I endorse their approach and strategies so far. I was among the few NIgerians who stoutly defended its leader and members when the “Operation Python Dance” macabre was launched by the federal government against Nnamdi Kanu in his capacity as the Supreme leader of the IPOB. To many of us, it was an assault and an attempt to suppress and deny the guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of Association and the right to free movement which is Autochotonous and inherent in the 1999 Constitution as ammended
(See “Beyond Nnamdi Kanu Rhetoric and the Igbo Question” by Ritchie Ejiofor, contributed September 21, 2017. www.iNigeria.com)
Even though many of us knew the underlying actions is deeply rooted in the anti Igbo sentiments that is too well known in Igboland. My published article condemed the draconian actions of the government which evoked reminder of the well known “anti-igbonalization ” agenda of various governments since the Aftermath of the civil war.
My defence of N.K and members of the IPOB was not that it gave tacit endorsement to their war rhetorics or activities but primordially the Biafran struggle which every Igboman shares. Every Igboman shares the Biafra question and the pains of being a Igbo-Nigerian, even where they are not in agreement as to what the next step would be. There is no doubt that the individualistic and Republican nature of the igbos that makes “oche bay” an unattainable mantra for the igbos no matter their situation. The igbos, and I speak for myself, do not subscribe to IPOB as their mouth piece so therefore, N.K does not act as igbo spokesman or speaking for the entire igbo race. There have been other organizations which operated and still operates in and within igboland that addresses the same IGBO question aka Biafran Republic or the total restructuring of the country and adoption of an equitable federation.
Before we jump to what happened In Nuremberg and its implications on the Biafra struggle and perception on Igbo political leadership, let us undertake a short excursion to our most recent history and perhaps unearth how that recent event puts a choke on IPOB and its rub off impact on the fight for an equitable federation. I can list Pan Igbo organization such as World Igbo Congress, Ohaneze, MASSOB, IPOB, BIA etc ,all those PAN IGBO organizations speak and agitate for IGBO interest and none can claim or misrepresented itself as speaking for IGBO people. The IPOB by claiming responsibility for the assault on a current senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, just took the bait and the government can justifiably defend their classification of the organization as a terrorist group. It is well known practice for disenfranchised people to protest against their government. It is also a well known convention where protesters use eggs, tomatoes and other perishable food item to pellet as an expression of their dissatisfaction, but in Nuremberg, Senator Ekweremadu was physically assaulted with his shirt torn. while we all agree that the protesters have a right to freedom of expression, the recipient is guaranteed the same right not to be assaulted.
There is a conspiracy theory that the recent act in which IPOB members claimed responsibility in Nuremberg and others have actually or ironically helped the current government in disguise. We shall analyze a few here, unfortunately, one of the narratives that is being pushed by people who act as surrogates for IPOB when this dangerous assault is condemned or challenged with a Monotone response, ” I don’t like N.K, nor belong to IPOB, but I support what they did to Senator Ekweremadu”. How possible? We cannot listen to the biblical Moses and then turn around and dance around the golden calf”. First the stated agenda of the IPOB is for break away from Nigeria (Zoo). If that’s the case, why are they worried about elections and which parties they prefer. The Igbo problem is not a recen Icreation; it existed when the PDP held reign, it existed prior to the Biafran civil war, it was manifest during 1979 to 1983 when Alex Ekwueme was the Vice President under NPN ruled Nigeria. the. Therefore, the issues did not just emerge like a parted red sea during the last four years of the APC government. The latent fear with these Nuremberg outcome is that IPOB has justified the stigma as a terrorist group that evokes terror or act of such on it’s people and Nigerian citizens and such classification doesn’t represent the intellectual prudence that the igbos are known for. Now the ever shifting strategies of the IPOB has over taken and has become the representation of the new IGBO narrative in their struggle for self determination. I think that instead of this chameleonic strategy, they should align with other Pan-igbo groups to articulate and harness the struggle.
The militancy shows symptoms of dictatorship and autocracy which ultimately is creating a new set of Tribalist advocates for enthroning a cult like leadership. When the Bakassi movement started in Igboland, the late Ojukwu cautioned against it and was not a supporter of it. This new unorganized and orchestrated attacks on the igbo leaders championed by the ardent supporters of IPOB may lead to trial by ordeal of anyone who is accused of being anti igbo. I am yet to see any IPOB members who support any party other than the People’s Democratic Party. The emergence of Fulani Herdsman terror inside the South East as we have recently witnessed maybe politically motivated and perhaps posterity, according to late Azikiwe, will vindicate the just and we may see the root of the matter. I support that Igbo leaders should be accountable to their people and every Nigerian politican should be accountable to the citizens. I however condemn in the strongest term the cherry picking approach where some are excused based on their perceived support for IPOB and others are targeted for assault. We as Ndigbo should look within and find if there exist any model town, local government area, senatorial district, major towns or states in the East where there exists any elected leader that represents the basic elements and traits that we demand for a true Biafran? We need to find out if any of these categorization meets any ideals for the struggle of Biafra or superficially act like a United Biafra land, how many states, or LGAs in Igbo land can boast of employing fellow Igboman or woman from another state or LGA, yet we claim the existence of a United igbo nation and can agree to humiliate someone from another state, yet we become agitated when an appointment opportunity is extended to a fellow Biafran from a different state. A case in point happened in Anambra between Bianca Ojukwu and the children of late Ojukwu and Family for Anambra senatorial seat, the argument was that Bianca was not from Anambra state but from Enugu. But again Anambra slot for Minister was extended to Deziani from Bayelsa. The point is that the Igbo does not show internal unity but a pretentious external unity. The Nuremberg saga has created a new talking point of the targeted victim, it has further exposed the underlying tone behind the whole agitation. The conspiracy theorist alleged that N.K is working under cover to further help Buhari and his party. They allege that his Jubril stunt helpEd Buhari Buhari and this was done so smoothly by prompting the South East to block vote against Buhari so as to energize his North East and North west base, they further alleged that the last minute Atiku -cameroun origin was the last design that gave the election victory to Buhari, akin to that bomb shell of James Comey-Hillary 2016 election period. While these conspiracy theories cannot be substantiated, it creates a second guessing of whatever noble intentions his agitation has . My opinion is if the IPOB members who are in diaspora chose to adopt the Nuremberg approach, they are better informed and know better that in such protest, they can organized sit out, bring public awareness and media and not resorting to physical violence. We cannot adopt the Nigerian format abroad and expect accolades.We know better and should act better.
Richmond Ejiofor, is a Doctoral student of Criminal Justice at Walden University and also an Independent registered insurance agent and Financial Advisor in the state of N.J.