Nnamdi Kanu: How Igbo Leaders Can Take Advantage Of Supreme Court’s Judgement


Many Igbos had hoped that today’s Supreme Court judgement would allow Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to walk free. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court thought otherwise. While agreeing with the decisions of lower courts to the extent that there were incidents of human rights violations on Nnamdi Kanu, including the invasion of his home by the military and his illegal repatriation from Kenya, Justice Emmanuel Agim who read the judgement held that these incidents cannot stop the ongoing prosecution of the IPOB leader for alleged terrorist related offences. He rather advised that reprieves arising from his illegal rendition and other excesses of the Federal Government could be sought through civil suits, while the high courts proceed with its trial of the man.

I like to see the good side of seemingly very bad incidents, and this is one of those times I believe that an issue, even though popularly assumed to be unfortunate, could be beneficial at the end.

The truth is that Nnamdi Kanu’s issue would best be resolved through political means rather than through legal tussles, and a verdict by the Supreme Court freeing him would have made the option of a political solution much more difficult. It would have brought about a situation where one group is victorious while the other is defeated, and this does not help in achieving lasting solution to the issue of Biafra agitation and alleged IPOB terrorism and other violent disturbances which disparate criminal gangs perpetrate in the Southeast, in the name of Biafra secession.

While the Supreme Court’s logic in arriving at its decision cannot be objectively faulted, the average Igbo man would find it difficult to accept that the judgement was correct, because of the failure of Igbo leaders and opinion leaders to lead rightly. Also, 98% of Igbos are tired of the violence, economic degradation, political relegation and all-round instability which the Southeast has been subjected to in the last three to four years, and are desperate to see a quick end to the whole crisis. The unfortunate truth however is that there won’t be any quick fix to these problems.

It is a good thing that this aspect of the legal struggle to secure Nnamdi Kanu’s freedom, has come to an end, and we expect that legal fireworks may soon commence to resume his trial at Justice Binta Nyarko’s court. This is the time for those Igbo leaders who won election and secured some political mileage by canvassing for Nnamdi Kanu’s release and demonstrating solidarity with him, to explore diplomatic and non-kinetic methods towards securing his release. The time of playing to the gallery is over, and the time to take real responsibility has come.

President Bola Tinubu will be scoring a major political point if he is able to restore peace to the Southeast, but no leader would also bow to blackmail. The President must be convinced by Igbo leaders on the need to grant amnesty, not just to Nnamdi Kanu, but to the thousands of Igbo youths that have been misled and radicalised into turning Ala Igbo into a killing field and an economic desert of sorts. Those who champion Nnamdi Kanu’s release alone are hypocrites, because releasing Nnamdi Kanu cannot solve the problem of insecurity in the Southeast, when we still have thousands of our youths in different forests and creeks, with arms, killing our brothers, raping our daughters and destroying our economy. Any proposal to free Nnamdi Kanu must be comprehensive and convincing.

One of the reasons I stepped back from my position as Ohanaeze Ndigbo Deputy Youth Leader and Acting Leader is my inability to play to the gallery or pretend about things I am not convinced about. Out of fear of attack or political repercussions, Igbo leaders failed to address the real issues regarding Nnamdi Kanu and chose to play politics of convenience. There is no Igbo leader worth the name who didn’t know that a declaration by the Supreme Court freeing Nnamdi Kanu would have emboldened his apostles more and further worsened the secessionist agitation in the Southeast, but they were mostly afraid of the truth and preferred to play politics of convenience. They went along with the mob, instead of pointing the mob to the right direction.

Before the resumption of Nnamdi Kanu’s trial, Igbo leaders should pursue with vigour a massive disarmament in the region, design strategies to reintegrate our radicalised youths, rehabilitate thousands who have been brainwashed with promises of Biafra independence and work deliberately to stop the proliferation of hard drugs in the Southeast, which is a major bait used by the terrorist leaders to turn the heads of many of our youths and lure them into various violent crimes with the promise of appointing them into powerful positions when Biafra is realised. Igbo leaders must be courageous enough to tell our youths that Biafra as an independent Republic is dead, and does not even hold the magic to our economic and political liberation. This is a hard truth and very unpopular, but if you are a leader, you must be ready to say those hard and unpopular truths to save your people from self-destruction.

Let me assure us that without a credible and convincing blueprint for the de-escalation of violence and secessionist agitation in the Southeast, no reasonable Commander-in-Chief will accede to any demand for amnesty. Leaders of the Southeast must come together and reassert their leadership in their various domains or run the risk of losing the entire Southeast to hooligans parading as secessionists.

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