Many Igbos especially Anambrarians both home and Diaspora are divided over what may be the outcome of the November scheduled Gubernatorial Election in Anambra State should Mazi Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB’s directive to boycott the election materialize.
Boycotting Anambra November 2017 Election And Biafra Realisation
The above is a current topical issue in Ala-Igbo and among Biafrans and many prominent voices have expressed their views on it. The fact is that both sides of the divide have their points and I totally respect their opinions. I also do believe that people on both sides are well-meaning and none is, by the slightest margin, less Biafran than the other on account of their differing views on this. I am also believing and hoping that in the end, we will have a unity of purpose and act in the Best Interest of our envisaged Nation – Biafra.
To start with, I strongly believe that the Biafrans in favour of boycotting the Anambra Governorship Election (federal and state assemblies are not part of this election) and those against the boycott are agreed on the following established facts :
Nigeria has not worked, is not working and, cannot work as presently constituted, Nigeria has been very unfair to Igbos and Biafrans and repressive of the Igbo Spirit, Self Determination is the way forward for Biafrans.
Considering the deaths, anguish, miseries, and destructions that trail Active Resistance (armed) in agitations such as the self-determination quest for Biafra, Passive Resistance (Civil Disobedience) is the Best course of action for us in this struggle. This is, also, generally agreed – especially, against the background of our own experience between 1967 and 1970.
In various parts of the world, Civil Disobedience has been used by various groups to achieve varied degrees of desired outcomes under various circumstances – Cuba, USA, India, South Africa, Estonia, Israel, etc.
Back home, it is on record that late Maazi Mbonu Ojike, going the Civil Disobedience way during Nigeria’s quest for independence from Britain, urged Nigerians to “boycott all boycottables”.
It is a known fact that Freedom is hardly given by the oppressors to the oppressed on a platter. Struggles, pains, losses and, even deaths, sometimes, trail freedom demands.
IPOB, among other groups, is currently at the forefront in the current agitation for Biafra Freedom. The leadership of the group, through Maazi Nnamdi Kanu has called for the boycotting of the forthcoming Anambra gubernatorial election in November.
Many have voiced out their apprehension of and opposition to this call for the following reasons :
Unlike the very successful 30th May Sit-At-Home protest, compliance to this directive will be much lower.
Complying with this directive will open up the way for APC to easily rig itself into power in Anambra State.
Nigeria’s military will likely kill many Igbos on account of this.
IPOB can’t stop INEC from conducting the election and no matter the number of voters, a winner will be declared.
Instead of boycotting the election, IPOB should anoint and support a Pro-Biafra candidate who will push the Biafra agenda.
This will lead to chaos and declaration of “State of Emergency” with consequent militarization of Anambra state in particular and Ala-Igbo in general.
Having Pro-Biafra political office holders will speed up the struggle – Scotland example.
Let us take a critical look at each of the above points :
Probable low compliance. This is a very valid point because of the very partisan nature of politics and the fact that the dramatis personae in the Anambra election can easily mobilise their supporters and direct beneficiaries to sabotage the greater group goal of Biafra Freedom on account of their selfish interest in the election. However, as Igbos will say “anaghi aso mgbagbu ghara iga ogu (only cowards run away from a fight for fear of being killed). Yes, there will always be nay-sayers but they should not deter the majority.
On the issue of any boycott paving the way for APC, this line of thought will only hold water if the struggle is about which political party controls the state. The Biafra struggle is not about party politics at all but about Self Determination of Biafrans from the suffocating clutches of Nigeria .
Come to think of it, is there really any difference between any of the political parties in Nigeria? None of them is ideology based.
Is any of the politicians truly altruistic and selfless? Are all of them not political prostitutes, freely and shamelessly moving from one so-called party to the other based simply on their very selfish interests – where they will be protected by the ruling party from being prosecuted for all their looting or where they will be given another political appointment for further looting?
Which of the present contestants for the Government House in Awka spoke up strongly against the cold-blooded murder of peaceful, armless, and harmless Pro-Biafra agitators by Nigeria’s Military and Police in Anambra or against the unjust incarceration of Maazi Nnamdi Kanu even after he was granted bail by a court?
What is the difference between Okorocha (APC), Ugwuanyi (PDP), and Obiano (APGA) in terms of the Biafra actualisation struggle?
On fear of more totally unnecessary killing of Igbos by the trigger-happy Nigeria security forces as they are wont to do at slightest opportunity, a Sit-At-Home on that day by Anambrarians will achieve same zero killings like the 30th May successful exercise.
On INEC declaring a winner even if only 100 votes are cast on that day, the so-called declared winner will not be in any doubt that he does not have the mandate of the citizens. This will not only put pressure on him and Nigeria Government, it will also be the basis for more civil disobedience that will aid the struggle. Moreover, the election observers, local and international, will see and report that the so-called election was a total and complete sham.
IPOB should anoint and support a Pro-Biafra candidate for the election.
Haaaa!!! Please, give me a break! That will amount to IPOB walking into a clear trap and committing suicide. This will mark the untimely and unfortunate end to this struggle. In-fact, that people from other ethnic groups who are totally and openly anti-Igbo and anti-Biafra are openly, vigorously and, vociferously canvassing for this is enough for any right-thinking Igbo person to discountenance this idea without a second thought.
In the first place, do we have elections or selections in Nigeria? Kogi, Ondo, Edo, Bayelsa, or Rivers? Which of them can we stand out as an epitome of free and fair election? No need going into details, but the truth is that with all the coercive powers and the electoral body at their beck and call, rigging Anambra election, especially if IPOB presents any candidate, will be “a task that MUST be accomplished” by All Means Necessary by the Nigeria Establishment.
Recall that Theodore Orji was “(s)elected” governor while he was in prison, virtually unknown in Abia state then, and on the platform of a totally new political party formed by Orji Uzo Kalu then. Did Abia people’s vote count in that election? What is the guarantee in this forthcoming Anambra’s case?
Assuming, by any stroke of luck, Anambrarians stake their lives, confront Nigeria’s electoral body and the murderous armed security forces, and the IPOB candidate is declared the winner, are there no more Ayo Salamis and Abangs in Nigeria’s 3rd Tier of Government, as per Buhari (Judiciary) to dance to the tune from Aso Rock and Bourdilion Road and overturn the victory?
Have we forgotten that late Dim Ojukwu himself campaigned for Peter Obi and Rochas Okorocha? Is any of them pro-biafra today?
Was Okorocha not elected on APGA platform in 2011? Is he not in APC today? So, who says the person IPOB anoints and supports in the election will not decamp to APC or any other party of his choice any time he chooses?
The resultant chaos from the boycott will lead to militarization of Igboland and declaration of state of emergency. Excuse me! Have you been to SE and SS cities and roads in the last one year? Are they not already militarised like occupied territories?
Political office holders will aid the struggle. I will not belabour this but will simply remind those canvassing this view to remember what has happened to the PIB after more than 10 years as well as the recent fate or the proposed South East Development Commission bill on the floor of NASS. Simply put, the political structure based on the current Salami Abubakar fraudulent 1999 Nigeria Constitution is deliberately designed to kow-tow only to the wishes and aspirations of the North.
On the opposite side many erudite minds like Mazi Uju Nwokorobia and Agha Egwu have spelt out the advantages of going ahead with the boycott directive. Without trying to re-invent the wheel, I crave their permission to have their well-thought-out points here as follows
According to Mazi Uju Nwokorobia,
(1) It will keep Nigerians busy with the Igbo question in Nigeria.
2) It will continue to create international awareness to Biafra plight–keeping the fire of independence blazing amongst our people.
3) Creation of constitutional crisis that will shake the very foundation of Nigeria.
4) De-legitimisation of would be “winners” of the election.
5) It will power Biafra consciousness to supernatural level.
6) Finally, it will lead us to either genuine fiscal federalism or secession of our dream. But never the same again.
As per Agha Egwu, the positives in boycotting the electing include:
1. Building powerful Igbo and Biafra Unity.
2. A crucial re-affirmation that Nnamdi Kanu is the true Igbo/Biafra leader. This is very important in reining in the egos of the Igbo/Biafra Governors and elders.
3. It will send shock waves throughout Nigeria and the global media. Boycotting Anambra elections will be 10 times worse than the the first Sit-at-Home.
Boycotting 2019 will be 100 times worse than the first Sit at Home. During those elections we would all just sit at home and leave the streets empty as a powerful testament of an unshakeable referendum.
4. It will mobilise support from our neghbours in the South South, Southwest and North Central.
5. It will mobilise powerful global publicity. It will be the NEWS not the elections.
6. It will terrify the State Governors and legislators coming in and they will humble themselves before Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB and may even lend or find their voice to support the will of their people. Not all will do it but some will and that would be enough.
7. With that kind of power, IPOB can mobilise the people to recall any legislator and threaten the impeachment of any Governor that does not put the people first so they fall in line.
8. With this residual power, IPOB can then speak on behalf of all Igbo or Biafrans.
9. With this IPOB power we can all demand for referendum politically.
10. IPOB can then demand the use of Nigerian funds in Biafra for the true welfare of the Biafra people. Governors would be too afraid to say no.
The most interesting aspect is that Uju and Agha used to be very strong proponents of going along with the Anambra election and not to boycott it.
In addition, just as we surprised, shocked, and disappointed those who gloated that the Sit-At-Home of 30th May will be a total flop because Igbos like money too much and can’t afford to leave their businesses for a whole day with the great success achieved on that day, we should equally shame and disgrace those who derisively allude that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a fluke as Igbo enweghi Eze – Igbos lack leadership.
Since the directive has gone out, we will be doing ourselves great good by going along with it.
Considering the great mileage Maazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB Leadership has taken this struggle to in such a short period of time, we should trust their leadership and sail or sink with the ship under their command. This is one area that has helped the North and the SW greatly in this unfortunate Nigeria project.
There should be no breaking of ranks in this struggle amongst us – not at this stage, not ever. There is no iota of doubt that Igboland is bursting with very brilliant minds. Fact, however, is that we all can’t be leaders at same time. Maazi Nnamdi Kanu may not the most eloquent, learned, tallest, etc but so were Moses (a stammerer), Saul (a killer of Christians), Peter (an illiterate fisherman), David (a mere boy), etc not the very best-endowed among their contemporaries. However, they were called and they led.
Being humans, he and the IPOB leadership are prone to mistakes like all of us. However, anytime we don’t quite understand them or think we have a better idea, the best will be to find a channel to approach them in private. We must not publicly try to ridicule them or oppose and thwart their directive as some of us are currently doing.
Like I earlier stated, this self determination struggle will not be without costs. About 3.5 million Easterners (present SE/SS) were killed during the genocide and heartless war brought on them by Nigeria. Amnesty International has reported that about 150 armless and peaceful pro-biafra agitators have been killed by Nigeria security forces in cold blood. Nnamdi Kanu has spent time in prison. Many pro-biafra agitators are currently languishing in various prisons across Nigeria. Yet, Buhari has declared his readiness to kill many more to scuttle the struggle.
However, there is every need to see this struggle to its inevitable and conclusive end – Self Determination for Biafrans. At this stage of the struggle, it will be very ironical and counter-productive for us to participate in the very political structure that is based on the very fraudulent constitution we want to repudiate and extricate ourselves from.
As Igbos will say, onye na anaghi eri anu nkita ekwesighi iji eze ekereya ndi na eri ya – he who detests dog meat should not share it for those who cherish it with his teeth.
Simply put, in the words of Mazi Mbonu Ojike, we should and must “boycott all boycottables” – Anambra 2017 election inclusive.
By the way, what IPOB has said through Nnamdi Kanu is that there should, henceforth, be no election in Biafraland till a date for BiafrExit Referendum is agreed on by the Nigeria government.
Shouldn’t we all applaud and support this?
Is referendum not what we all greatly desire right now?
If this tactic will put the required pressure on Nigeria and minders of the current unacceptable status-quo in this country, why should any reasonable SE/SS/SW person object it?
Concluding, I strongly suggest that we lose some battles like this Anambra Gubernatorial Election and the 2019 General Elections so that we can win the ultimate war for Biafra’s Self Determination and Freedom.