By SKC Ogbonnia
September 4, 2019
The current Biafran struggle has meant different things to different
people. For former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, it appears
more of a specious opportunity to exploit the Biafran masses—for
selfish interest, motivated by blind ambition for power and primitive
accumulation of wealth. The result has been blackmail, political
persecution, loss of many innocent lives and, by consequence, the
protest in Nuremberg, Germany, where the senator was flogged naked. But
these developments should not have come as a surprise, particularly to
the principal actors, namely, Ekweremadu, Nnamdi Kanu, and Muhammadu
In a 2015 piece, “How PDP And APC Created New Biafran Agitations”, I
narrated how the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), having squandered
the huge oil boom, “had nothing on the ground for the Igbo masses and
thus needed to sustain mass following by deceit.” I added that a
perilous perfidy deployed by the Igbo PDP caucus–under the leadership
of Ekweremadu–to prevent the restless Igbo youths from revolt was that
a support for President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 was an automatic Igbo
presidency in 2019. In fact, the baloney was the sole message conveyed
from Jonathan to us at the World Igbo Congress convention in Houston in
2014, through Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Nyesom Wike, then a governorship candidate, took the gambit to the
extreme when he threatened secession, if PDP were to lose the 2015
election. Hear him: “I will lead a war against them (Nigeria) like
Ojukwu. Am not joking, I know am on air, and I am warning them now… In
fact, we from the South-South and South-East we remain in PDP. We leave
the South-West and North to run APC. That is how they tactically shared
Thus, the Buhari’s victory in the 2015 election was read as a coup
d’état in the East, particularly among the jobless youths, who thence
answered the call for a Biafran Republic. Yet, the call would not have
gained much currency and sympathy, if President Buhari of All
Progressive Congress (APC) did not declare vendetta against the Biafran
area for voting against him in the said election.
The biggest beneficiary of the Biafran agitation thus far has been Ike
Ekweremadu. Upon conniving with Senator Bukola Saraki to snatch the post
of Deputy Senate President from the ruling APC, Ekweremadu knew he was
in for trouble, big trouble. And President Buhari went after the Igbo
senator and Saraki, the Senate President, like tornado, including
outright charges for forgery and corruption. The only strong defense the
duo had at their disposal was to whip up the ethnic sentiment; and the
Igbo saw an opportunity for revenge against Buhari.
Ekweremadu suddenly became an Igbo totem. Every Igbo group began to sing
Ekweremadu or nothing at all—as if some how the region witnessed any
tangible development the previous 8 years the senator was the de facto
Senate president while his party was in power.
Yet, the fiercest opposition to Buhari or, rather, the strongest support
of Ekweremadu and Saraki came from Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),
led by Nnamdi Kanu. Though Kanu would be arrested and detained,
President Buhari knew to backpedal on Ekweremadu or risk a serious
revolt from the South-East and the South-South zones. In short,
Ekweremadu and Saraki would have been jailed by 2016, if not for a stout
opposition from the IPOB organization worldwide. Said differently,
Nnamdi Kanu sacrificed his freedom and the lives of many Biafran
activists, so that Ike Ekweremadu could remain as the Deputy Senate
President under Buhari.
It is true that Ekweremadu provided support to the IPOB before and after
Kanu’s detention, quite alright, including a portion of the bail
money, but his support was utterly selfish and dreadfully deceitful.
This approach provoked the eminent economist and former Governor of
Central Bank, Chukwuma Soludo, to use the occasion of the launching of
the book, “The Politics of Biafra: And the Future of Nigeria”, to
admonish such politicians exploiting IPOB for selfish interest to
recognize that the Biafran activists “are no fools.”
The duplicity of politicians in the saga compelled me to pen: “Biafra
And Corruption: When A Judas Becomes A Muhammad.” I was able to
highlight how the corrupt hawks from the South-East and South-South
zones exploit the fact that the Muslim North, which currently holds
power, typically appears willing to turn an evil bearer of ‘One
Nigeria’ into a saint. I detailed how such Southern leaders, who
harbored dream for national leadership, suddenly abandoned the Biafran
agitators they helped to create, and started singing a different tune. I
noted the unholy subterfuge in which Governor Wike not only renamed
Rivers State Stadium after Gowon, but also his dramatic handshake across
the Northwest through the Sokoto Caliphate. More relatively, I
demonstrated how Ekweremadu, after consolidating power as the political
leader of the entire Biafran area, betrayed and dumped the IPOB on the
altar of political opportunism. That Judas piece was published August
One month after the exposé, September 17, 2017, to be exact, Chief
Ekweremadu and the South-East governors met at Enugu to proscribe IPOB.
The sheer shenanigans have led to maiming and killing of innocent
Biafran activists, gross political persecution, and mass exodus of
youths from the East to anywhere but Nigeria—Nuremberg not excluded.
The popularity of the public protest against Ekweremadu has shown that
the Nigerian masses and IPOB have gotten wiser. As Buhari’s Minister
of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, would say, “If you see a thief and you
allow him to be stealing, what have you done? You have stoned nobody;
that is why we are stealing.” And I say, where there are no
consequences for bad behavior, the bad behavior usually worsens.
But it does not appear that Ike Ekweremadu has gotten the message. Since
returning to Nigeria after “Nuremberg”, the senator has had the
audacity to resort back to his familiar mélange of propaganda and
prodigality. Mr. Ekweremadu has been celebrating failure, deploying
tax-payer’s money into chartering private aircrafts, and renting
gullible crowds—crowds, who have done nothing but hail the whited
sepulcher, while heaping abuse on the tireless masses of the Diaspora
community, particularly the IPOB. This is impunity gone too far!
Be that as it may, the gist of my January 2017 piece, “Buhari and
Nnamdi Kanu Fighting the Wrong Enemy”, remains profoundly instructive.
Both Buhari and Kanu ought to unite and focus on the common enemy, being
the Biafran politicians who colluded with contractors to loot
development projects in region. Instead of seeing every dissent as
terrorism or treason, Buhari should embrace dialogue, switch back his
anti-corruption toga, and key into the current wave of worldwide
revolution targeted against the looters of our commonwealth.
SKC Ogbonnia, a 2019 APC presidential aspirant, is the author of the
Effective Leadership Formula.