Nnamdi Kalu’s sighting: My take.
If the reported sighting of our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in Jerusalem todayis true, I join millions of our people in welcoming him.
At least we can now confirm that he is a live and in great health.
I had personally published several essays asking his whereabouts and insisting that Igbo leaders and the Buhari government be held accountable for his disappearance along with his parents.
It is good to know he is alive and kicking.
But I am a little skeptical. Mazi Kanu surrendered his passports to the authorities as part of his bail conditions sometime in 2017. Was that passport released to him in secret? What deal did he make with whoever released his travel documents?
Then what about his parents?
Did they travel to Israel with him?
What route did they use? Nnamdi Kanu had become an international figure and cannot be missed by photo journalists in any part of the world. How did he get to Israel? By boat? Provided by who? When did he arrive Israel? Why was Western Wall chosen as his place of first public appearance? What import is there in the symbolism?
There sure would be more questions than we can answer immediately. I am certain that in a few days or weeks, we will know more than we currently do.
I must however invite all of us to be alert.
I suspect that a certain game is being played and we will miss that if we get carried away by the excitement of the hour.
I will share a little historical insight here.
In 1982, Mr Shehu Shagari was the president. He had a very woeful run but was desperate to remain in power. Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was in Asylum in Ivory Coast. He had fled Nigeria at the end of the Biafran War. Ojukwu even in defeat was a man Igbos adore. He was our hero and remains so.
Shagari would be squaring off against another equally respected son of Igboland. His name is Nnamdi Azikiwe. He was the leader of the NPP. Shagari’s party was the NPN. Zik was a threat to Shagari’s second term ambition even though an Igbo man – Alex Ekwueme was Shagari’s vice.
Zik’s popularity was a problem Shagari must neutralize to stand any chance of relection. He was already sure of losing the West to Mr Obafemi Awolowo.
Something needed to be done.
Step in Chuba Okadigbo- Shagari’s political advisor.
Mr Okadigbo who went on to become senate president in 99 was a very brilliant man. He knew what needed to be done.
“Grant state pardon and immunity from prosecution to Ojukwu, grant him a hero’s welcome….” Okadigbo proposed.
It was a decision that was bound to create a lot of controversies considering Ojukuw’s role in the war, his unpredictability and sheer brilliance. Shagari was not sure he could manage the Ojukwu effect quite well. But he needed to make a gesture that would give him a fighting chance in Igboland- the cost notwithstanding.
Ojukwu at first was reluctant but Okadigbo was insistent, assuring the war lord that he had nothing to be afraid of. Ojukwu agreed. In July 1982
Okadigbo was tasked with the responsibility of traveling to Ivory coast to see Ojukwu. He was to convince him to accept Shagari’s state pardon. Ojukwu at first was reluctant but Okadigbo was insistent, assuring the war lord that he had nothing to be afraid of. Ojukwu agreed. In July 1982, Ojukwu returned to Nigeria- a hero, cheered by thousands of Igbos across the streets of Enugu including my own mother who has never stopped talking about his “afo onu.”
Ojukwu’s return and the knowledge that it was Shagari that granted him pardon was sure to sway Igbo voters. Ojukwu and Zik were never friends. Ojukwu had felt betrayed by Zik in the heat of the war. Perhaps as a way of exacting his revenge, Ojukwu declared for NPN and became it’s senatorial candidate. He may have done that to either spit Zik in the face or perhaps it was part of a deal he reached with Okadigbo. You never can tell.
Eventually, the election came and Zik Lost. Ojukwu also lost. It was a great miscalculation politically- joining partisan politics. He should have seen the trapped- imagine the most loved Igbo man losing out to a nonentity. They only wanted him back in the country but not in the senate. It was a master-stroke. The Igbos were “back” in Nigeria, Shagari was back as president and Ojukwu was back home.
2019 is around the corner.
It is an election year.
Buhari would be running against PDP that has a very popular Igbo man on the ticket.
Buhari is largely and perhaps justifiably disliked by Igbos.
He needs to break our “ice”
Nnamdi Kanu is the Ojukwu of this age- the “liberator” of his people. He would sway Igbo votes in favour of whoever he wishes.
But Buhari or whoever is playing from the Shagari rulebook is certain that Mazi Kanu has no interest in election or going to the senate.
He is calling for a boycott. He does not trust Nigerian election. It is either Biafra or death.
But we must refuse to be decieved. Even without all the facts, I can tell you a game is being played. Election boycott in Igboland would work in Buhari’s favour. He will be the ultimate beneficiary.
Make no mistake.
No one in Abuja suddenly began to like Nnamdi Kanu or his campaign. It is all about how it can profit the powers that be.
We must be attentive- me and you.
I will tell you more when I have them.
Nnamdi Kalu’s sighting: My take.