The Paradox Of Buhari And Kanu: My Dilemma As An Igbo man - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Paradox Of Buhari And Kanu: My Dilemma As An Igbo man



By Chidiebere Nwobodo 

It is not a coincidence that Biafra agitation, since after the war, got to its teetering crescendo in the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari. Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB didn't just become popular overnight, especially amongst Igbo youths, but are being helped by the actions and inactions of the President. Buhari's uncouth, crude and unashamedly nepotism and bigotry, is providing conducive environment for increasing agitation in the east. 

Blatant exclusion of South-East in the running of this government, is the oxygen fanning the growing tension in the east. Here lies the paradox provided by Buhari and Kanu: these two individuals have created two schools of thought in the east. As an Igbo man that is neither for Buhari's relegation of Ndigbo in the scheme of governance nor Kanu's separatist movement, I am in a dilemma. I am caught in a web of centrifugal forces and centripetal forces; between the deep blue sea and the devil—and the middle ground is gradually fading away. 

As someone who has been vocal in criticizing Buhari's body language of disdain, hatred and apathy for Ndigbo: to Buhari and his apologists from the east and beyond, I am a disgruntled Nnamdi Kanu cum IPOB sympathizer hating the President for nothing. To an Nnamdi Kanu  follower who has been expecting me to come out openly and declare support for Biafra agitation, I am an efulefu (outcast) and saboteur to "the struggle". And Danladi Umar of CCT still sees me as a "Biafran Boy" just for being Igbo. Chai! where will I run to? 

I am of the school of thought that Nigeria can still be restructured and made to work again for all—at least post Buhari's presidency. I don't subscribe to the growing philosophy in Igbo land that we should go back to the trenches of arm struggle again. I believe that Ndigbo stand to lose a lot again if crisis breaks in Nigeria. This government has made it obvious the marginalization of Ndigbo in Nigeria, but like other previous injustices, we will outlive this Administration. If we could survive 30 months war, we will survive Buhari's government. 

Here lies my own quagmire: President Buhari's unpatriotic actions and inactions are making Ndigbo of my school of thought to appear stupid, cowardice and clueless in the eyes of Biafra agitation sympathizers. My own school of thought is running out of steam because instead of Buhari to be providing us with facts to checkmate Biafra agitation in the east, he is emboldening the other side of the divide via actions and inactions against the east. 

 Buhari's brazen nepotism, impunity and indifference to atrocities of criminal herdsmen are arming IPOB's propagandists with impregnable narratives to attack us and weaken our own ideology. In fact, paradoxically, Buhari is the greatest promoter of Biafran agitation not Nnamdi Kanu. The President is winning more following for IPOB by not even recognizing his own party men and women from the South-East in terms of appointments. APC members in the east do not have any narrative to oppose growing tide of agitation in the zone. They have lost moral impetus to openly identity with the President again. 

Look at Gov. Dave Umahi; a known supporter of Buhari in the east and recent defector to the APC. The gruesome massacre of villagers in Ebonyi State has made Umahi look stupid for supporting the President—and more importantly, joining federal authorities to proscribe IPOB and refusal to float Eastern version of Amotekun. Ohaneze Ndigbo cried and pleaded with the President to appoint next IGP from the east. What did Buhari do? give them middle finger! 

To Umahi and Ohaneze Ndigbo, they have been demoralized to speak against Kanu and IPOB again cos Buhari has put them to shame like he did to ex-IGP Adamu who was fired while still "talking tough against IPOB". 

In the foregoing context, Buhari is depopulating the camp of liberals like us in the east and populating growing camp of radicals cum extremists in the zone. With the recent wanton, barbaric and condemnable destructions of lives and properties of security personnel cum agencies in the east, another ugly chapter has been unveiled. The unknown gunmen has become mysterious even to us. 

Anytime Kanu makes unguarded utterances capable of inciting violence, liberals in the east and my non-Igbo friends will besiege my box with a call for caution. When Buhari makes his anti-Igbo appointments cum decisions, IPOB members will troop to my box to mock me for not being discerning enough to see that Nigeria hates Ndigbo. My dilemma as an Igbo man is this: neither Buhari's northerners like me for criticizing unfair treatment of Ndigbo nor Biafran propagandists, for standing in the fence of cushion. 

The dangerous dimension is this: while I am running the risk of being arrested for criticizing President Buhari, sooner or later, people of my school of thought might not be free to work the streets of South-East again, for fear of being attacked for being efulefus (outcasts) or saboteurs—for not identifying with Biafra agitation. Buhari's vindictive policies vis-a-vis decisions against South-East, has made it increasingly difficult to preach "one Nigeria" in the zone. This is my dilemma as an Igbo man.

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