Reflections on the man Nnamdi Kanu, by Chimamamda Adichie
Yesterday I announced that I would unveil my thoughts regarding the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. Several people reached out, advising me to be neutral and steer clear of political discourse. They meant well for a young female writer with a reputation to protect, an image to project, and the care not to cause offense. I almost yielded but changed my mind this morning.
The Igbos are the same people about whom I wrote my current published work, In Blood and War, a book set in the then troubled Biafra.
On principle, I consider it unethical to make money off retelling the struggle of this tribe, and in the same breath be silent about their same struggle.
It is beneath morality for a writer to choose to speak only when it favours him or her. To retreat to silence in order not to ‘taint’ reputation.
To speak on this particular issue, of the man called Nnamdi Kanu, does not tribalize me or my works of literature. Especially as this remains an age-long fear of most writers; the fear of offending, a fear of stepping on toes, of banishment by a displeased societal sect, and even possible ostracism.
I speak because the making of a villain or hero often depends on who tells the story. Representation matters, when perspective becomes the thin line between an activist or a terrorist.
WHO IS NNAMDI KANU?
Nnamdi Okwu Kanu is a Nigerian Biafra political activist, and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB.
In a move to create an independent state for the people of old Eastern Region of Nigeria through an independent referendum, Kanu founded IPOB in 2014.
He began his activism for the freedom of Biafra as director of Radio Biafra in 2009, and anchor of Biafra awareness under Ralph Uwazuruike, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
NNAMDI on Referendum, and SECESSION
According to Article 2 of the nation’s constitution, Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
Our law does not recognise the right of a state to break away from the union. The only way to legally grant such an option is through an amendment to the law.
Hence, Nnamdi Kanu’s call for a referendum.
Same constitution only addresses two scenarios where a referendum is recognised – state boundary adjustment and the recall of a member of the National Assembly.
Headstrong on this path, Nnamdi Kanu ran into trouble with the Nigerian government and was first arraigned over allegations of terrorism, money laundering, treason, others, on October 14, 2015.
Later granted bail in 2017, he fled Nigeria in September after the military invaded his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, in the southeast of Nigeria. A move that prompted the Nigerian government to secure a court order proscribing IPOB as a terrorist group.
Nnamdi Kanu’s whereabouts remained unknown until his recent arrest a few days ago. He and his co-defendant are currently facing treasonable felony charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. He also faces charges on unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society. The presiding judge adjourned the case to July 26, 2021.
Last week, while parceling one of my books to a buyer, a young boy of about 20 years old was making a call beside me.
At the end of his call, I understood four things:
1. He was negotiating to pay 200k to obtain a form that will identify him as a Niger Delta militant
2. This young man was not a militant
3. Incriminating himself and mortgaging his future through filling out such form would enable him get his share of the amnesty dished out by the Federal government monthly.
4. Our government negotiates with terrorists.
Since the arrest of the IPOB leader, my feed has been agog with posts casting aspersions on his person. Of which majority are made by Igbos, falling over themselves in a frenzy to denounce Nnamdi Kanu.
Meanwhile, a regular Hausa man is yet to put aside his Suya trade, cast on ashes and put on sackcloth, and then come on social media to endlessly bemoan the menance of Boko Haram in the country.
My ear still itches, awaiting the day a regular Yoruba man would take a chill off a peppery dish to criticize Obj. for not being the messiah we had hoped for. No, he is their brother. They must not speak bad of him.
Neither are the Ijaws pausing the oil bunkering trade in the rivers long enough to come online and rant about distancing themselves from militancy in the Niger Delta region.
I am yet to see any of these tribes measure the size of their phallus by how hard they throw their kinsman under the bus.
But not your average Igbo man.
No. Not the average Igbo man with itchy fingers, who masturbates off lambasting Nnamdi. The Igbo man must belong. He must trend. It is fashionable.
The Igbos are a bit too extra on this table.
GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY?
Still on the call for secession, on the 2nd of June 2021, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made the below ‘heartwarming endearment’ to the Igbos on Twitter :
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
The above threat from the house of the presidency stinks of beating a child and asking him not to cry.
No one in their right mind departs a good home, one that is working.
Shouldn’t the real question then be . . . why do these people so badly want to stay apart from the rest of the nation?
First demonize a people, call their outcry terrorism, then their injustice becomes acceptable, their oppression becomes deserving.
Guilty or not guilty?
Nnamdi’s methodology may be rad, but his intentions are understandable. And for that, I will not throw him under the bus. Unbridled passion, passion without diplomacy, is all I see.
In the words of Peter Tosh, everyone is crying out for peace and none for justice.
I ponder in idle musings:
Whether Nnamdi is a terrorist, depends on what you mean by a terrorist. Yesterday it was Sowore. Then the youths at the Lekki tollgate. Today Nnamdi. Or could it be that this country only understands you better when you act mad?
On nitty-gritty, we might have become a nation that picks and chooses the brand of terrorists deserving of amnesty. Perhaps the class with guns and doing the most harm are more deserving on the VIP list. That is the only way the massacre of the armless IPOB youths can make sense.
One day, in a saner clime abounding in freedom of speech, I will laud the beautiful corruption of a beloved country called Nigeria
Till then, we will watch the brave made into examples, and shiver at the spectacle, until fear seals our lips and sends us tumbling back into the tunnel of silence.
OPINION: The electric car Buhari-Osinbajo built Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, June 21, 2021)
Chanting a million and one ‘gbosas’ to acknowledge the magic performed last week in Abuja by Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), would be an exercise in ingratitude.
For executing the 8th Wonder of the World, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo deserve to be worshipped by Nigerians forever.
Surely, it can only be magic, not a miracle; to strike the ground with a wand, ‘gbaa!’, and a car’s rooftop cracks open the earth, slowly erupting into full view, like a mild volcano, amid dust and thunderous chants of ‘CHANGE!’, birthing the first Made-in-Nigeria electric car, Kona.
It can only be Eh-Fi-Si abracadabra. You may call it ‘efisi’, if you like swagger.
Without a workforce, steel rolling mill, power supply, technological know-how, mechanical and electrical components, the Buhari-Osinbajo government must have secretly gathered invisible hands that worked round the clock to produce Nigeria’s first electric car. This government doesn’t lie, I swear.
Permit me to quickly buttress my deep conviction that the Buhari-Osinbajo rulership doesn’t lie.
Exasperated about being called a liar, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a viral video, said, “‘My seven-year-old grandson called me and said, ‘Grandpa, tell me the truth; why do they call you Liar Mohammed?’”
Alhaji Lai added, “I looked at him. What do you say to a seven-year-old (grand)son? How do you explain politics to him? So, I said, no; don’t mind them.”
The Buhari-Osinbajo government doesn’t lie, it only doesn’t fulfil promises. Soon, the FG will replace the gloom on Nigerian roads with the gleam of the green electric car. This may not be by 2023, however; remember, Yobe State Governor, Mai Buni, prophesied the APC would rule for more than the next 32 years.
Fathered and christened by Hyundai, a South-Korean automaker, Kona electric car isn’t an abiku that comes and goes in countless seasons. But baby Kona had actually come in November 2020 when Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, publicly unveiled and presented it in Lagos, where the car was ostensibly manufactured.
Therefore, Osinbajo wasn’t the godfather of Kona, it was Sanwo-Olu, who presented the car at baptism. I repeat, this government doesn’t lie.
Don’t get me wrong, please. It’s not a crime to present and re-present the same car to the public 30 times, it only shows government’s seriousness and commitment to technology transfer.
But do you know the real reasons why the cerebral Osinbajo re-presented Kona to Nigerians seven long months after Sanwo-Olu had unveiled it? I know, and I’ll tell you.
After six months in power with neither direction nor a cabinet, signs that the aircraft of the Buhari-Osinbajo regime would need to be pushed and jump-started – like a ‘kabukabu’ – began to manifest.
The Buhari-Osinbajo regime badly needed the Kona PR because in the last six years, the Federal Government hasn’t fulfilled one-hundredth of its electoral promises.
But unpromised dividends of democracy such as killings by Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping, corruption, ethnic agitations, banditry, nepotism, despondency, fear and hopelessness have been delivered as sizzling hot takeaways to Nigerians benumbed by a tragic, fractured nation.
On their campaign trails in 2015 and 2019, Buhari-Osinbajo brandished hope to the electorate, churning out promises like the rapid-fire guns used by killer herdsmen.
As their ecstatic supporters roared during campaigns in 2015, Buhari and Osinbajo promised to crush Boko Haram within three months in power and lower the exchange rate of dollar to naira which then stood below N200.
The magical duo promised more, vowing to ban government officials from going abroad for medical treatment, dismantle the Office of the First Lady, publicly declare assets, distribute 20,000 megawatts of electricity within their first four years, revive Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, construct superhighways across the country, among others.
I can bet my neck that the Buhari-Osinbajo regime of integrity will fulfil its electoral promises before the expiration of its two terms, although the blood of innocent southern and Middle Belt farmers have been used to irrigate the pasture fed to Fulani cattle.
Today, the naira has thankfully appreciated at almost N500 to a dollar while light doesn’t blink in my Iyana Ipaja-Agege neck of the woods just as intensive work is ongoing to complete the 100-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, six years after promising the construction of phantom 3,000-kilometre superhighways across the country.
Thank goodness the Buhari-Osinbajo government is winning the terror war though everyday negotiations and payments of ransoms on kidnapped citizens across Nigeria are rampant and reminiscent of the slave trade era when dog life was of higher value than human life.
It’s true that confessed Boko Haram terrorists are now regular guests at government houses where they are hosted to sumptuous negotiation dinners with their AK-47 strapped across their necks as they smile at the camera, while the President has commanded his troops not to ‘give breathing space to terrorists’.
For a government being bashed at home by its citizens for innumerable reasons, and buffeted abroad by world leaders over the ban on Twitter, a re-presentation of Made-in-Nigeria Kona by Osinbajo was highly needed.
Despite its rarity, however, I had the good fortune of seeing an electric car yesterday. My shylock landlord, after increasing rent on his houses and shops for the third year running, bought one and decided to unveil it on Father’s Day.
I didn’t go out to felicitate with my landlord. I remained in my one-room apartment and peeped through the window because I’ve yet to pay security levy. The bill is despite the fact that robbers have visited the house twice in the last one month.
I could see and hear everyone clearly because the car was parked near my window. This is what I heard:
Caretaker: Oga landlord, dis tear rubber na confam o!
Landlord: (Smiles) It’s the Lord’s doing, it’s beautiful in our sight.
Corper: (Snapping selfies with the car) This car is tush, sir. How much does it cost, sir?
Landlord: N24m only.
AbereIfa: Ha! Dis small car?
Caretaker: Don’t you know it doesn’t use fuel? It uses electricity.
AbereIfa: Electricity? How?
Landlord: The car runs on electricity. When fully charged for 9 hrs 35 mins, the vehicle can cover a distance of 482km which is equivalent to the distance between Lagos and Warri.
AbereIfa: If the electricity wey follow am come finish, where you go see light recharge am?
Caretaker: Oga Landlord will go Ghana or put 50 litre-gallon fuel for boot. If electricity finish, oga go pour fuel.
Landlord: No, it doesn’t use fuel. I’ll charge it here at home.
AbereIfa: With tenants’ prepaid credits? That one no go dey possible o, oga.
Caretaker: No be electric car you suppose buy, Landlord. See, armed robbers dey disturb us every night, the toilet is not good, there’s no water, tenants are unhappy.
Landlord: How does your welfare concern me? Are you members of my family or tribe?
Corper: Landlord, get into the car and drive it nah. I want to see you drive your electric car like the one I saw on TV yesterday.
Landlord: You saw one on the TV yesterday?
Corper: Yes, sir.
Landlord: How did the one you saw on TV look like?
Corper: It was green in colour.
Corper: Yes, green and gleamy. I saw Vice President Yemi Osinbajo behind the wheel, in company with two big men. There were many security men around the car, putting their hands on the car as if preventing it from disappearing.
AbereIfa: Chai, dis girl.
Corper: Yes, nah. They didn’t allow the car to move freely, unlike President Joe Biden’s test-run of an electric Ford truck in the US. Biden fastened his seat belt. You can’t say that about every big man in the Nigerian electric car. And Vice President Osinbajo used one hand to drive, Biden used both hands.”
AbereIfa: VP used one hand? Chai, diarisgod o.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Opinion: Buhari’s leopard can’t change its spots by Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, June 14, 2021)
It’s only a 43-year-old novice President like Emmanuel Macron of France that can take a hot slap on the right cheek and go back home to sleep. That can never happen in the Feudal Republic of Nigeria. This oyinbo people sef! Are they weird or wayward, or both?
Last Tuesday, a 28-year-old French citizen, Damien Tarel, publicly held President Macron close to himself with his left hand and planted a deafening slap on the President’s left cheek with his right hand, t-t-w-w-a-a-i-i!!! Macron must have seen presidential stars at midday as the slap landed and echoed far in the city of Lyon.
When taken to court, Tarel said the slap was Macron’s reward for representing ‘very neatly the decay of our country’, and the court, in turn, rewarded Tarel with four-month imprisonment and a 45,000-euro fine. Na wa for ndi beke o!?
The maximum sentence for slapping the President of France is just three years in an ultra modern jail that’s better equipped and more secure than all of Nigeria’s public institutions, but Tarel got only four months out of the maximum 36 months. Imagine?
Hear Macron, the President who accommodated the dirty slap, “It’s not such a big deal to get a slap when you go toward a crowd to say hello to some people who were waiting for a long time.”
Haaa! You can never understand these oyinbo people! Someone slaps a president, gets a bail and the lightest of sentences, and the President says nothing spoil? Dis one shock me o! E no shock you?
If that happened in Nigeria? Ha, Ogun Lakaye Osinmale ooo! The Igbo and Yoruba gods of thunder, Amadioha and Sango Olukoso, will reincarnate live at the scene, spitting thunder, lightning and brimstone. Forever, no grass will grow at that scene!
Demons will descend on Damien the son of Tarel, who would instantly arrive at heaven’s gate with his body parts such as teeth, eyes, ears and right hand packed in a ‘nylon’ bag hanging around his neck. Slap who!? What are you talking ke? No mistake pepper for powder o.
Also, many innocent victims killed by stray bullets at the scene would accompany Tarel to heaven’s gate with some of them belching teargas while some others would have their spinal cords sticking out like the malfunctioning hands of an unstuck wall clock.
There was no slap at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020. But there were bullets and blood after a protest by harmless flag-clutching Nigerian youths, who were over 700 kilometres away from Aso Rock, the official castle of Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Conscienceless, the dictatorship headed by Buhari and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, unleashed security agents on the protesting youths, some of whom were dispatched to their early graves with their green-white-green flags dripping with blood.
By demanding an end to corruption and the enthronement of good governance, the youths had committed a sacrilege punishable in the Nigerian state by death. By calling on the Buhari-Osinbajo regime to wake up from eternal slumber and check the country’s slide into anarchy, the youths earned one-way tickets to their graves.
But if there was a Lekki tollgate in France, funds generated thereof would not be enshrouded in everlasting controversy. French is a romantic language. I think they would call their Lekki tollgate, ‘Tollgate Du Leqqui’. And French gendarmes would stay meters away from the protesters and watch as French youths exercised their human rights.
The over 200 years old French democracy sits on the shoulders of the young President Macron. Nigeria’s unbroken 21-year-old 4th Republic sits on the weak shoulders of olden President Buhari.
Please, don’t get me wrong; old age isn’t a curse. I mean, accurate old age isn’t a disease. Indeed, the wisdom that accompanies old age becomes a blessing to generations if the geriatric doesn’t take on tasks beyond his physical and mental capacities.
There are world leaders who, in their old ages, still exhibit profound mental acuity. Examples of such leaders are American President, (78), his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, (68), Israeli Prime Minister; Benjamin Netanyahu, (71), and the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is 85 years old, among others.
These are leaders with genuine ages. They are leaders whose mental outputs bespeak their true ages. But the same cannot be said of President Buhari who honestly disclosed in December 2017 that he doesn’t know his real age.
In his typical mishmash manner of answering questions, the President had said, “I am thinking I am 75. I thought I was 74 but I was told I was 75.” Thinking 75. Thought 74. Told 75: Imagine the distorted thought process? And upon the shoulders of this President rests the task of reinventing a nation of 200 million people? Can the blind lead the sighted?
Particularly, the clueless manner with which Buhari answers questions during media interviews could be a pointer suggestive of the possibility that the President could be far beyond the 78 years he adopted as his official age.
The characteristic disconnection of Buhari’s answers from questions asked during interviews is worrisome. I had exposed this cavity in one of my recent articles.
But, going by the worsening of this ever-present trend, I began to suspect that Buhari could, after all, be an octogenarian, a nonagenarian or a centenarian – given the fact that his birth was not documented – just like his secondary school claim.
Answering questions from some handpicked Villa-familiar journalists on Arise TV last week, President Buhari, again, revealed a mind chained to tribalism, ransomed by nepotism, and completely out of depth about democracy.
I was alarmed that the Buhari-Osinbajo regime of the 21st Century is still giving thought to revamping ancient grazing routes used when the total population of Nigeria was barely 50 million.
This Fulani President, who has persistently made a case for nomadic Fulani herdsmen to be allowed to graze their cattle on Middle Belt and southern farmers’ crops, didn’t say a word of commiseration when herdsmen killed many people in the Igangan community of Oyo State, last week.
Because he’s involved, Buhari, the Life Patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria – the umbrella body of all herdsmen in the country – has also threatened to deal ruthlessly with Biafran agitators, closing his eyes to the atrocities wreaked by his Fulani folks.
Till date, no herdsman has been prosecuted and found guilty in the southern part of the country by the Buhari regime.
During the interview, Buhari vouchsafed his regime’s claim to baseless integrity, telling Nigerians that his lopsided appointments were based on competence, experience and years of service.
No, Buhari didn’t forget that his feudal regime had technically retired 70 southern Army generals with the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Faruk Yahaya, from Sokoto, who was picked way down the ladder of military seniority.
He only stuck to his guns on talking points in which barefaced lies couldn’t suffice, and employed sophistry to mask the atrocities of his inept government against the Middle Belt and the southern parts of the country.
For self, Buhari outlawed Twitter. For kith and kin, he retires 70 serving generals, bringing their careers to an abrupt, unplanned end.
For Buhari, experience, service and competence are nothing: Tribe is everything. This is the promised CHANGE. A-P-C!
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Tokyo Olympics: Australia beat Nigeria 84-67 in Basketball opener
FG extends NIN-SIM linkage deadline till Oct 31
28 Bethel Baptist students regain freedom, 87 still held
CCECC completes Apapa port link to Lagos-Ibadan railway
Customs: Vehicle tariff reduction to begin next week
55 lineages of COVID circulating in Nigeria, says NCDC
Railway6 months ago
CCECC completes Apapa port link to Lagos-Ibadan railway
Business6 months ago
Customs: Vehicle tariff reduction to begin next week
COVID-195 months ago
55 lineages of COVID circulating in Nigeria, says NCDC
Business6 months ago
FEC approves N21.89bn National Theatre renovation agreement
Editorial6 months ago
Reps kick against reopening schools on Monday
COVID-196 months ago
Biden, Treasury Secretary say Republicans COVID-19 aid too small
Business6 months ago
Why we want to replace BVN with NIN – Minister
metro6 months ago
Bandits kill Minna Catholic priest, 10 in Zamfara