By: Femi Fani-Kayode
Permit me to begin this weeks contribution with a brief aside. My dear
friend Major Hamza Al Mustapha was reported to have said the following a
few days ago:
“Those who strive to keep Nigeria one find themselves as enemies of a
certain category of Nigerians. I don’t see those who hate to see Nigeria
as one as a group but a clique that exploits the country, a clique that
mismanages the future, a clique that invests in disintegration, a clique
that invests in misinformation and creating division among Nigerians, a
clique that promotes hatred, a clique that distorts our history, so that
when Nigerians are divided and can no longer think together, they can make
gains and continue to steal from Nigeria’s commonwealth. But the moment
you realize what they are doing and resolve to fight them, they will stop
at nothing to destroy you. Any call to divide Nigeria is unacceptable”.
One wonders whether these were the thoughts of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha
when he was the Chief Security Officer to General Sani Abacha and when
Mrs. Kudirat Abiola, the courageous and outsoken wife of Chief MKO Abiola
the winner of the June 12th 1993 presidential election, was brutally
murdered in cold blood by agents of the governmrnt that he served so
diligently and with such ruthless precision.
One wonders whether she was murdered alongside many other gallant sons and
daughters of the south west by the Abacha regime in the name of
maintaining the national cohesion and unity that he claims to love so
much. I will grant my brother Hamza the opportunity to answer this
question before going any further but for now I will just say the
I rather think that it is the clique of those that kill with impunity,
that supress dissent, that demonise their peresceived enemies, that
believe that the rest of us are slaves and that believe that they were
born to rule that present the greatest threat to peace and national unity
in this country.
If they want peace and unity they must humble themselves and beg God and
the Nigerian people for forgiveness for 103 years of cruelty, ruthless
domination, arrogance, genocide and impunity.
They must get off their high horse, purge themselves of their notorious
insolence and insufferable contempt and they must stop the historical
distortions, the insults, the killings and the threats.
Whether Mustapha likes it or not the days when anyone will invoke the
spirit of national unity and one NIgeria just to perpetuate injustice,
bondage, slavery, subjugation, mass muder, genocide, ethnic and religious
cleansing and core northern domination are long over.
All the insults and threats in the world cannot change that. I await his
Permit me to continue this contribution by stating loudly and clearly that
those that have told Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB to steer clear of Lagos and
Yorubaland and that have said that he must not go there for any rallies
are talking bunkum.
Apart from the fact that milions of Igbos that reside in Lagos and many
other parts of the south-west would welcome him with open arms and
thunderous jubilation, millions of Yoruba youth would also rejoice at his
coming simply because they have been inspired and stirred by his sheer
courage and dedication.
To the Yoruba nationalists and believers in the right of
self-determination Kanu is a hero and they not only admire him but they
also revere him.
This is especially so given the fact that he has long since withdrawn and
renounced many of the misconceptions and views that he once espoused and
expressed about the Yoruba and their leaders before his incarceration.
Had this not been the case this writer would not and could not possibly
have had as much respect and affection for him as I do.
As a matter of fact since his release he has not only stood by the Yoruba
nation publicly but has also spoken up for a number of Yoruba leaders who
are suffering persecution from the Federal Government and who have been
issued with life-threatening and physical threats from the Arewa Youth.
Yours truly is one of those that both IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu has stood by
and spoken up for consistently and I consider it to not only be an honor
but also a gesture that I shall never forget and that I shall always
endeavour to reciprocate.
Without any fear of contradiction, I can boldly say that this courageous
young man has nothing but respect and affection for the Yoruba nation
He has renounced all his past comments about our people both privately and
publicly and he will do so again in a big way when he comes to Lagos.
We spent a lot of time together in Kuje prison and we learnt a lot from
each other whilst there. We are fighting the same cause against the same
Those that believe that he and IPOB have no friends amongst the Yoruba are
misguided and misinformed. They have lost touch with reality and they are
living in the past.
The truth is that IPOB has friends amongst both the elders and the youths
in the south-west and, most importantly, millions of Yoruba sons and
daughters share their vision of and belief in the right to exercise their
God-given right of self-determination.
They crave for and believe in the establishment of Oduduwa Republic in
much the same way and for the same reasons that Nnamdi and members of his
IPOB crave for and believe in Biafra.
The bridge of commonality of purpose between the south west and the south
east has been rebuilt and re-established and none shall ever break or burn
it again. Whether anyone likes it or not, in this struggle, we are one.
I would also add this. Those in igboland and indeed throughout the south
that have openly opposed, insulted and sought to chastise those gallant
men and women that support the idea of restructuring our country or that
consistently resist and denigrate the concept of establishing the
sovereign state of Biafra are mischevous and disingenious.
They are nothing but gutless traitors, blacklegs and turncoats that have
no sense or knowledge of history and that have been contracted by the
powers that be to shatter the dreams and aspirations of millions of young
Igbos from within.
Worst still they are simply voicing the views and sentiments of the
internal colonialists and our collective slavemasters.
These turncoats and traitors have fed fat on Nigeria and have consistently
cornered the market of all that is due to the Igbo from the Federal
Government for themselves over the last thirty years.
Such beneficiaries of a skewered, inequitable and unwholesome system who
have no empathy for the suffering and humiliation of their own people and
who cannot feel their pain forget that, with God, all things are possible.
If one million Igbo youths were slaughtered in the north or in the streets
of the east by northern mobs or our security forces respectively these
people would not voice a single word of protest but would instead try to
defend and rationalise it.
This brings me to the meat of this essay. The Arewa Youths that demanded
that the Igbo must leave the north by October 1st and that have now given
the Federal Government an ultimatum to arrest Nnamdi Kanu in the next 10
days are stoking a fire that may end up consumming Nigeria.
They must be gagged, put in chains and spanked hard!
Nnamdi Kanu is a hero and his call for independence for the Igbo is
legitimate and lawful. Any attempt to arrest him will have consequences.
For those that still do not believe that the Biafra phenomenon and message
is here to stay and that are still guided by the erroneous notion that
“all is well” in Nigeria I share the following.
Dr. John Dan Fulani, a cerebal and well-respected activist, human rights
crusader, intellectual and academic from Southern Kaduna with a large
following, has said that if Biafra is established the people of Southern
Kaduna will leave Nigeria and go with them.
This unprecedented assertion and declaration has caused panic,
consternation and alarm in many core northern conservative circles.
Again Professor Jerry Gana, a respected former Minister from Niger state
and a reasonable, well-known and well-liked leader that has been deeply
involved in politics and entrenched in the corridors of power for the last
32 years has said that if Nigeria were ever to break up the people of the
Middle Belt would leave the north and go with the people of the south.
Again the Solomon Asemota SAN and T.Y. Danjuma-led Christian Elders Forum
has warned the Federal Government and the Nigerian people about what they
have described as a subtle and dangerous application of “stealth jihad” by
the Federal Government in our country and what they see as an attempt to
Again a well-organised and credible Yoruba group called the Yoruba
Liberation Command (YOLICOM) has said that it was “too late for
restructuring” and that they want Oduduwa Republic to be established. They
also threw their weight behind the establishment of Biafra.
This is the sad and sorry impasse that the ailing President Muhammadu
Buhari and his cult of ecstatic cheerleaders and super worshippers have
taken Nigeria in just two years.
Whilst the dangerous ethnic, religious and regional divisions in our
country are getting wider by the day His Royal Highness is busy holding
court in London and desperately trying to prove to the world that he is
not dead, that he is much better and that he can rule our nation from a
distant foreign land indefinately. What a country! What a people!
The truth is that the President and the Presidency is not meant to be a
tourist attraction, a museum of old fossils or a mausoleum of decaying
bodies to be viewed by curious dignitaries in a distant foreign land.
Despite the pretty group pictures with a handful of selected governors I
believe that it is an act of cruelty to expect this poor and obviously
very sick man to lead a nation of 180 million.
In spite of my views about his glaring incompetence and his many
atrocities, weaknesses, eccentricities and shortcomings I believe that
even he deserves far better than that.
My counsel, which is borne out of compassion and nothing else, still
remains that he resigns and that he goes home and rests before he suffers
yet another replapse and returns to nether nether land!
The truth is that the only thing that competes with our never-ending film
show of “do you have a President or do you not have a President” in
Nigeria today is the much-awaited and newly released ‘season 7’ of HBO’s
“Game of Thrones” which I watch religiously and which I enjoy enormously.
That is what the serious business of governance has been reduced to in
Nigeria. Is it any wonder that CNN’s Fareed Zakaria mocked us about our
absentee President before hundreds of millions of viewers from all over
the world just the other day?
The truth is that we deserve even worse. May God judge those that have
brought us this unquantifiable and unbearable calamity and national shame.
Meanwhile I urge the wise and the discerning to pause and consider the
Those that dismiss the widening divisions and agitations in our country
with disdain and contempt and that underestimate the resolve of those that
are behind them are not only naive but they also do so at their own peril.
It is only a matter of time before something gives. I say this because
national cohesion and unity can only be established, entrenched and
sustained by the accomodation and toleration of dissenting views, the
constant expression of love and the regular and consistent application of
leadership by consensus.
It cannot be sustained by brutality, murder, injustice, lies, supression,
persecution, tyranny, manipulation, deceit, propaganda and coercion.
You cannot hold a people down by the usage of threats, the shedding of
blood and the force of arms forever.
Even slaves rise up in bloody rebellion and resist tyranny when the time
is right, when the wind of liberation blows and when the freedom bell
The south west, the south south and the south east yearn for that liberty
and freedom and the Middle Belt craves for it.
The only thing that they are waiting for is the emergence of a set of
bold, clear-thinking, inspirational and focused leaders that have the
courage, the tenacity of purpose, the unrelenting fortitude and the purity
of spirit to lead the struggle and to take them out of the bondage of
Egypt and into the Promise land.
The bottom line is as follows: I would rather live and die as a free man
in an independent Oduduwa Republic than continue to live and die as a
slave in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.