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Published On: Wed, Nov 22nd, 2017

Implications of Buhari’s Southeast visit

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WEDNESDAY Column by Israel A. Ebije | or

It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) travelled to Anambra for a two days working visit. It is also no longer news that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) declared him persona non-grata ahead of his planned visit, which meant he was not welcomed. In the true definition of persona-non-grata, PMB should have been arrested immediately after touching his feet on “Biafra-Land”. Many Nigerians may have missed one of the most important aspect of PMB visit, which goes beyond the chieftaincy title, the unveiled statue or the fact that a single shot was not fired at his direction. An implied statement was made and I will explain shortly.
I followed social media posts especially those made by our southeastern brothers before and after president Buhari visited Anambra. When I scanned through the posts before he visited, one could almost win a bet that the entire southeast will erupt against PMB. It was indeed a time most people were sure secessionists will see their threats through, which without doubt would have set the entire nation on fire. Therefore, for the persons on both side of the divide and those on the fence, it was a moment of truth as people brazed up for the worse. The entire episode however passed so quickly and I was back on social media again this time to savor post PMB visit comments and also temperature of people who threatened hell. I was not so shocked to find same people lamenting over the way and manner the event slid-by peacefully. And I asked myself, is this the kind of situation where somebody wants everybody to do what nobody wants to do?
Back to the “implied statement” of what PMB visit made that I left off a while ago. The entire IPOB façade is a construction of idle minded youths under the influence of a badly trained 50 year old man. While the Ibo race has the right to agitate for restructuring, resource control or self-rule, that does not diminish the fact that the Nnamdi Kanu led agitation is what it is – a ponzi. The agitation I cannot fault based on the perceived marginalization and unabated onslaught by herders amongst others. Also in a democratic setting, one would expect that opinion may differ. My concern is the figure head leading the agitation. He charged in like a possessed beast snapping away his fang in every direction just for the picture effect.
To fight a government like the APC, the likes of Kanu should have come around using tact. He however chose to talk tough with empty, worthless threats, which government is using to frame the secessionist group as terrorists. He quickly lost supporters when he carved out the “new” republic of Biafra adding states without consultation. He even declared a new form of worship alien to the people as their national religion of the yet to be republic. His infantile kneel jerk decision turned him to a clown. Many dismissed him for a joke and a jerk.
With all what happened last week, it is clear only a few idle Ibo sons and daughters are committed to the Biafran movement under Kanu watch. Sadly, most of them are just in the bandwagon, with little or no idea of what they are fighting for. The safe passage of PMB only exposed the charade, the whole IPOB stood for. The sit-at-home order, which recorded measurable compliance few months ago, was achieved because serious minded traders where mindful miscreants who formed the platoon of muscle heads in the group would take advantage of the situation to loot and destroy businesses if they failed to comply. Interestingly many people thought the Ibo nation was under Kanu’s spell.
Anambra election has come and gone without incidence. In fact the turn out was so encouraging that candidates for the gubernatorial election deployed the usual rigging techniques to bait electorates for votes. The process reflected the usual Nigerian election mien with attendant rigging. Take-away containers of prepared meals could be seen in the hands of hungry voters who allegedly sold their votes to fill their stomachs and that is regardless of which party platform they were keen on voting out. In summary, IPOB warning asking electorates to stay away from voting only existed on the social media.
Declaring IPOB a terrorist organization is one of the usual poor decisions of the Buhari led administration. It was not only a waste of time but an international embarrassment as the Western world appear to understand the shenanigan of the group leader better than federal government. Government at the center must be more accommodating. Buhari led administration must be guided by good counsel. Agitators must however learn from the IPOB debacle now that they are in the cold. Next time when a leader of agitators emerges, the persons emotional intelligence must be vetted otherwise, it diminishes the purpose of agitation.
Ebije can be reached via, or @ebijeisrael

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