Many folks in several sections of the country and federal government circles became very jittery when the leader/founder of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, at the zenith of his short-lived reign, issued the equivalent of a fatwa against the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra State. The prospects of the election ever holding as scheduled became bleaker Kanu defiantly arrived in the historic market town of Onitsha and an estimated crowd of nearly a million people giddily turned out to worship at the feet of their newfound god and hear him repeat his order.
It’s no secret that an overwhelming majority of the Igbo political are members and supporters of the major opposition party and in a way the transfiguration of Kanu serves them right because, if truth must be spoken, he was a direct product of their Frankenstein experimentation. They financially buoyed and cheered him on because they found him to be a veritable pawn on the political chessboard aimed at discomfiting the Muhammadu Buhari administration and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). A sprinkling of political affairs commentators of Igbo origin (including this columnist) courageously rode against the tide of popular opinion when they kept urging a toning down of the protest language and warning of inevitable dire consequences if Kanu’s utterances and actions weren’t curbed.
Failing to show any form of remorse that the vacuum they created through lack of effective leadership was what Kanu capitalized on to mesmerize the inhabitants of the South-East geopolitical zone, majority of the Igbo elite added insult to injury by smugly smiling as they waxed lyrical about freedom of speech. In consonance with the Chinese saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, riding on the tiger’s back was ill-advisedly deemed to be the shortest cut to political relevance and survival.
But at the end of the day, the student had become the professor, the hunter the hunted and the falcon could no longer hear or obey the falconer. The Igbo political elite, both in the South-East and the Diaspora, were trying to do outdo themselves in gifting cash and material things to the young man. It ultimately dawned on Kanu that he had nullified a universal principle that avers that the summation of the parts is greater than the whole; he had become the whole that was greater than the summation of the parts and he himself immediately understood the implications for his own enabled capacity to be a high roller in the power game.
But while all the hoopla lasted, real Anambrarians knew that the November 18 election would hold as scheduled! How and why? Not many people know that because Onitsha is the biggest commercial town in the South-East, non-Anambrarians constitute a very significant percentage of the population. Education is the crown jewel of Anambra State and this is evidenced by the fact that it has the highest literacy rate in the South-East. Anambrarians cannot, therefore, be readily led by the nose, especially when the wannabe leader hails from outside the state.
At the end of the day, Kanu overreached himself and the rest is now history. Lord Acton, it was, who opined that “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” There was a period Kanu bestrode the South-East like a colossus and his Umuahia country home became a ‘pilgrimage destination.’ If only the young man had quit when the ovation was loudest he’d have become the godfather of godfathers as he’d have been in a position to single-handedly determine who would occupy ANY elective post in the South-East!
And this would have been very unfair to the likes of Senator Chris Ngige who put their lives on the line to wrestle godfatherism to oblivion and opened the eyes of Ndigbo to the fact that Government indeed had a positive role to play and value to add in the lives of ordinary citizens. We, as Ndigbo, still don’t realize or appreciate but for the grace of God just how close we came to substituting democracy for hero-worship in Igbo land. As Anambrarians, therefore, troop to the polling booths on November 18 to vote in their next governor, they must do so both with a sense of pedigreed history and in a celebratory mood.
This piece will conclude on the eve of the election with “My Endorsement” when I will openly endorse one of the candidates and proffer reasons for exhorting Anambrarians to troop to the polling booths on Election Day to elect him into office.
Source: Daily Independent