“Biafra is the only reason why I live; that was something none of you knew” – Nnamdi Kanu.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, did not start his Biafra independence struggle today. In fact, he started it more than 19 years ago, which has made him to garner a lot of experience that today – in words and deeds – he exudes unparalleled optimism about the coming of Biafra. His optimism stems from the fact that the many controversies and challenges he had faced him in the struggle, and he surmounted all of them.
In the first part of this article, we looked at some of those controversies and challenges that shaped his optimism. In this concluding part, we look at others.
Kanu has faced the challenge of politics and infighting of fellow colleagues whose other struggle – apart from that of getting Biafra – was to outmaneuver their colleagues by working to gain Kanu’s unparalleled attention, through which they also intended to gain pole positions in IPOB.
Kanu also faced colleagues in the struggle who wanted his position, so they lied, plotted, and cajoled to gain the support of other Biafrans and draw them away from Kanu. But Kanu remained resolute and in the end triumphed. He ended up establishing a group, a networking of peaceful agitators, and structure unparalleled in the history of the world.
IPOB is a grassroots-based organisation with a network connecting hardcore Biafrans in more than 88 countries of the world. It is a mass of disciplined people that are ready to pull Biafra out of Nigeria with the simple weapon of truth.
Many people have been praising former President Goodluck Jonathan today for what they termed a perfect handling of Radio Biafra and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), while he was in power. They claimed he ignored Kanu and IPOB thereby making them irrelevant and unable to trouble government.
But that is not entirely true. Jonathan fought IPOB and Radio Biafra silently and underground. He was not brazen as Buhari has proven to be. But he also spent huge sums of money in prosecuting against IPOB and Radio Biafra the way Buhari has been doing.
Radio Biafra server received so many cyber-attacks, sponsored by Jonathan’s government, than anyone could imagine. Sometimes broadcasts were stalled for hours, even for days. From time to time, attacks would come from such countries as Brazil, Germany, India, United States of America (USA), and several other countries.
However, relying on the dedication, expertise and support of such hardcore Biafrans as Uche Mefor, Chukwudi, Ofoma, Uchenna Asiegbu, Emeka Iroanya, Fred Onyeali, and several other Biafrans, he was able to overcome.
Lies and Deception
Another major challenge Kanu and many other hard core Biafran agitators contended were lies and deceptions sold by enemies of the struggle. There were much of these during the purchase of an AM Transmitter for Radio Biafra.
Biafrans abroad, who were enjoying the Radio Biafra broadcasts, felt it was necessary to make the broadcasts reach Biafrans at home. They reasoned that the best way this could be done would be to purchase a massive transmitter that could broadcast from any helpful African country into Biafraland. They reasoned further that a massive AM Transmitter would be important in doing that.
Donations were called for, and Biafrans responded. Within few months, the transmitter was bought. Kanu was so excited that he asked; “Where are those people who say Igbo don’t love themselves; can’t work together. They should come and see how Biafrans who don’t even know me contributed huge amount of money into my hands to buy a transmitter.”
Incidentally, that marked the start of another controversy that in less than no time threatened to consume IPOB and derail the struggle. Some people flew a kite that no transmitter was purchased in the first place. But Kanu was able to weather the storm with truth, and the struggle continued.
Boycott of 2015 elections
Another controversy was that which arose from Radio Biafra campaign that the 2015 election should be boycotted by Biafrans. His message was that if Biafrans did this, the world would ask questions, and then Biafrans would be in a pole position to demand Biafra independence from Nigeria.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party of Goodluck Jonathan – the then president (a Biafran) – accused Kanu and IPOB of collecting money from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), and working to deny their candidate votes from his greatest stronghold.
Indeed, the elections were boycotted by Biafrans in such states that Radio Biafra signals were getting to, such as Abia, Enugu, Imo, Anambra, and Rivers boycotted it. But the Nigerian media, owned, controlled and manipulated by the Fulani/Yoruba media maintained a conspiratorial silence on the happenings during and after the elections in this regard. Long before the election proper, editors of newspapers and magazines had held a meeting where they shared out bribes from governments and politicians, and agreed to black out the Biafra call for boycott of the elections. Even the electronic media were in on the plot.
But it was no surprise to Nnamdi Kanu and the entire IPOB family. Kanu prophetically declared on air that IPOB would not bribe any newspaper reporter or editor to carry Biafra news, but that one day they would be “forced to write about us”. That is happening today. Even though many are writing about Biafra to counter the agitations, Kanu and IPOB are appreciative of the fact that, all in all, Biafra is resounding across the land.
Kanu’s image and personality
There were also controversies aimed at denting his image and his personality. Such were controversies of people publishing intimate pictures of himself and his wife, saying they were amorous pictures he took with prostitutes; of people who accused him of embezzling IPOB funds; of school dropouts like former president Olusegun Obasanjo who calle him and his colleagues miscreants.
Challenge to down Radio Biafra
This challenge started long before the current Buhari administration, but Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s current president, started the current brazen attempt to suppress Kanu’s activities, which culminated in his arrest (kidnap by government). The station had been a pain in the neck of the Buhari government’s government, no doubt. A great number of Nigerians also wanted it taken out, because it was exposing their rotten underbelly in the contraption called Nigeria.
Before Buhari’s journey to the United States of America (USA), his government had announced that it was on an expedition to purchase arms to battle Boko Haram, the number one murderous terrorist group in the world. Biafrans saw it as a “begging mission” to acquire arms with which to kill them and suppress their agitation. The Fulani led Northern Nigeria (Buhari is a Fulani) concocted the plan to finally put a lasting stop to Radio Biafra broadcasts.
The plan was to first buy off the satellite company that was hosting the Radio Biafra signals, which is Satlink Communication, and then to jam its FM stations in Biafraland. Also as part of the plan was a media blitz that would demonise the radio station as well as the Biafran struggle so as to make the coming brutal repression of Biafrans seem justified in the eyes of the world. The Nigerian rulers equally banked on publicizing the arrests (either real or imagined) so as to scare other Biafrans from the struggle.
The plan was chosen because, even though Nigerian authorities described the radio as “illegal” and “pirate”, it was established on solid legal grounds. They knew it was almost an impossibility to approach the planned downing through legal means.
Therefore, in executing the plot, Buhari first empowered some government fronts and agents masquerading as businessmen to buy out RR Media, a company based in the USA, which was registered in 1981. Aliko Dangote is believed to be a point man in the transactions. He knew he could not directly purchase Satlink Communication (as a Muslim) since it is an Israeli company.
In June, the deal was sealed with a whopping sum of 19 million Dollars to buy out RR Media. Then more funds were released, which was used to acquire Satllinks. That was how the Radio Biafra signals were yanked off Satllinks on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Then, it was followed by media propaganda bliss, which was to demonise Radio Biafra and the Biafran struggle. From all sectors and all quarters, voices where heard discussing every other thing, but the fact that the station was in agitation for the sovereignty of Biafra. Some went as far as deceptively comparing Radio Biafra to Islamic State of Syria and Levant (ISIL); Boko Haram in Nigeria; or even the Rwanda genocide. They obviously reasoned that such comparison would scare away Biafran activists, and portray the Nigerian state as justified when it starts its planned repressive action against the Biafran people.
They hid the fact that it had been the Nigerian state that always perpetrated violence against the Biafrans. They did not state the fact that it was Nigeria in 1967 that attacked Biafra and killed nothing less than 4 million Biafrans. They did not tell their audience that since 1999 when Biafrans started none violence agitation, that the Nigerian state has murdered nothing less than 2,030 Biafrans.
As usual, the manipulative Lagos/Ibadan media, spearheaded the media attacks. Opinion articles, commentaries, interviews, Vox-pops, and several other media fares were used to dish out lies and propaganda against Radio Biafra and Biafrans. While some were active on the traditional media, others ran riot on the social.
It was the failure of the plot to down Radio Biafra and destroy IPOB that led to the current one, which is to take Nnamdi Kanu away from his microphone. They knew his continued voice on air would completely destroy Nigeria without a shot being fired.
Have they succeeded? Obviously not! Today, Radio Biafra is still on air, firing on all its platforms. The management secured new contracts with other compaies. The Radio Biafra signals can now be received through: INTELSAT 20/K 68.5 degree east, frequency 12521v27501. They have also secured a contract with Yamil 20/C band 55°E, frequency 11045 V 40000.
In spite of the fact that Kanu has been in Nigeria’s gulag for the past one month, hiss message continues to ring out through millions of Biafrans who follow him. All over the world, protests are going on at UN offices, Nigerian embassies and British embassies, and the message is reaching the world through all the nooks and crannies of the world that Biafrans want to be free.
At this juncture, it is instructive to not that before planning the strategies to get his message to the people, studied Nigerians. He knew Nigerians (apart from Biafrans) would only show interest when aroused by brutality, violence, and death. He knew they would not pay attention when the messages peaceful, truthful and honest. A good example is Mohammed Yusuf who led Boko Haram for years unnoticed by Nigerians because he was peaceful and honest about his quest.
It was therefore not surprising to him that Yakubu Gowon (the war criminal), who supervised the murder of nothing less than four (4) million Biafrans, is seen as a hero. He knew Murtala Mohammed, as another war criminal, was Nigeria’s hero (with an international airport named after him) for the genocide he spearheaded at Asaba during the Biafra/Nigeria war. Muhammadu Buhari (the other felon and war criminal) is Nigeria’s current champion because he took men to a Church in Owerri in 1968 to murder innocent women and children and promised to do worst if he was not made President. What about Obasanjo, the mean, backstabbing and lying killer, who leveled the innocent town of Odi to prove his meanness to Nigerians?
But Nnamdi Kanu knew he could not descend to such base level to get his message across Nigerians, so he devised to tell them people the truth in a rough way. That is what those who could not provide superior arguments to his truth-based imputations termed “hate speech”.
So, Biafrans know that their brother is in Nigeria’s gulag because he was gaining the attention of Nigerians. It was a reality that the likes of Buhari, Obasanjo, and many Fulani rulers were not comfortable with. However, Kanu who has promised that he would never afraid before his enemies is riding the waves and his voice continues to ring, “In the end we win, we always win”.
The Court Challenge
Kanu will be appearing in court on Tuesday, December 1 (tomorrow), to answer to trumped up charges leveled against him by Nigeria’s Department of State Security (DSS). Seeing him in court last Monday, November 23, smiling, hugging, and embracing family and friends showed he had every belief that he would also overcome the court challenge.
It Abuja that day, People in the Nigerian capital, saw a different type of crowd – a type of crowd they had never seen in the city before. Indeed, such had never happened since the creation of the city in 1976. It was a crowd of enthusiastic Biafrans, led by IPOB, singing, dancing, marching and chanting Biafra solidarity songs. In the city, they glistened in the November sun with Biafran colours.
“We are Biafrans, marching for our freedom, in the name of Jesus, we shall conquer” they sang as they moved. They too had bought into Kanu’s mantra that “in the end, we win”.