Kanu’s re-arrest and assault on Igboho – By Lanre Arogundade

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* L-R: Igboho, Kanu
We may argue forever about their mannerisms, low western education; or, if you prefer, their shenanigans. But, what cannot be denied is that the hundreds or thousands that follow Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, including in the case of the former, the Igbo throng that obeyed IPOB’s last stay at home order, do so because they believe in their cause or demand for self determination or secession.
And so it is worth reminding those ululating over the re-arrest of Kanu and perhaps the impending arrest of Igboho except he manages to escape, that their emergence remains largely a fall-out of the unresolved national question in Nigeria, the grievance over which has been accentuated by the nepotism of the current government and its flawed approach to herders’ terrorism, among others.
For example, it is doubtful if there would have been an Igboho phenomenon, at least the way it has manifested, if the herders’ invasion of farmlands and killings in the south west especially in his Oke-ogun area of Yorubaland didn’t go unchecked. It is now common knowledge that the military authorities are asking the people to defend themselves against bandits. In a northern state last week an army commander celebrated with armed vigilantes recruited to help fight bandits. It would seem therefore that Igboho’s real offence is expanding the scope of his agitation to the touchy (for the powers that be) terrain of self determination.
Yet, in the case of Kanu and Igboho, history is only repeating itself either as a tragedy or as a farce, just as the government of the day itself has become a repeat of the tragedy and farce that governance has become in Nigeria. Gorge Orwell’s satirical ‘Animal Farm’ was targeted at the distortions of the Russian Socialist Revolution of the early 20th century but it is doubtful if there is any other narrative that aptly captures the macabre turn of events in the country. All animals are equal but some are certainly more equal than others. A Gumi can therefore roam freely in and out of forests as ambassador plenipotentiary for killer and ransom raking bandits without being questioned except when he alleged collusion between them and the military.
Shall we remind ourselves that before the duo of Kanu and Igboho there was the middle belt revolt, the Isaac Adaka Boro’s ‘Niger Delta Republic’; the Ojukwu’s Biafra, the Zagon Kataf uprising over which General Zamani Lekwot was to be hanged and the Fredrick Fasehun and Gani Adams Oodua Peoples Congress movement of the 1990s.
Even as we write, there are mini self-determination agitations such that during the just concluded Senate public hearings on the proposed constitutional amendments, there was a proposal for the break up of Kaduna to northern and southern Kaduna states to reflect ethnic and religious differences.
It should stand to reason that in the midst of all these challenges, there must be a way of democratically negotiating the basis of Nigeria’s unity instead of insisting that her unity is non-negotiable. How can the unity of a contraption undemocratically created by Lord Lugard in 1914 without any consultation whatsoever with the would-be constituents said to be non-negotiable?. The idea that things will be better off through a return to the past will continue to be a fantasy if there is no agreement on a new and acceptable way forward.

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