Python Dance: Killing A Fly With A Sledge Hammer

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OUTSIDE THE BOX BY ALEX OTTI , Email: alex.otti@thisdaylive.com
OUTSIDE THE BOX
By Alex Otti; alex.otti@thisdaylive.com
 
It has been one hell of a week or two particularly in the south eastern part of Nigeria. Prior to this time, the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), had assumed such a larger than life image that it could order a sit-at-home strike and people would comply strictly. The jury is still out concerning the reason why the order recorded that kind of total compliance.
There have been debates about Nigerians loving public holidays and that the order coincided with another public holiday and that people actually complied out of fear of attack, if they were found on the road on the said day. The one I found most ludicrous is the argument about Nigerians loving public holidays. May be they were right about civil servants who were hardly committed to their jobs, since there was hardly any demand on them, but I also know that majority of businesses in the South East are private sector concerns and this is the sector that hates public holidays with a passion. In essence therefore, there must be something else that made the people comply with the sit-at-home order.
Fast forward to mid-September, I read that the army was launching what it codenamed “Operation Python Dance 2” in the South East and part of the South-South. I was worried as my understanding of the situation was that this operation may trigger hostilities with IPOB. I reasoned that others would see it the same way and warn them to steer clear of the Python even if for some strange reasons, it is a dancing one. But somehow, I was wrong. Our people did not read the handwriting on the wall. They were looking at other targets meanwhile, it was about them. So, for that reason, they were unprepared and were caught napping. Some of the governors who I had thought had agreed with the President on the operation were as shocked as I was. They didn’t seem to be aware! They heard it the same way, we lesser mortals, heard it. But, they are known as the Chief Security Officers of the States in question. May be this was not security enough to require their attention.
The first “dance” took place around Kanu’s house. It was widely reported in the media that the military shot rather indiscriminately at civilians who could only retaliate by throwing stones and in the process, several people, including military men, were injured. The military promptly denied these reports, explaining that they were merely test driving their armored truck which had just come back from repairs. While we were digesting that, it became known that even more serious attacks were launched on unarmed civilians between the towns of Umuahia and Aba. Very chilling pictures and reports of the attacks were being circulated daily in the social media. I must confess that I could not withstand the sight of some of the gory pictures and could not continue to watch them. There were subsequent reports about the military declaring IPOB, a terrorist organization and warning that anyone with the Biafra flag or insignia was going to be “dealt with”. The Governors of the South East States were to emerge from their Governor’s forum meeting to proscribe IPOB and asked aggrieved people to articulate their issues and forward through their representatives in the legislature.
In the first place, as a believer in the principles of democracy, fundamental human rights and the sanctity of life, I am of the opinion that rolling out the army under any guise to face unarmed citizens was totally uncalled for and cannot be justified in the circumstance. We may never know the actual number of casualties since some of the corpses may never be recovered, but the reports and images were horrible. The primary job of the military has to do with waging war with enemies of the state, and ward off external aggression. It is only in situations of a violent breakdown of law and order which the police is unable to contain that the attention of the military is considered an option. The situation in the South East did not look anything like that. It is also important to state that like the carpenter whose solution to any problem is nail and hammer, so also is the military, who thinks first of the gun and bullets whenever it is confronted with any challenge. Under Obasanjo, the military was sent ostensibly to restore peace and order in Odi, a little town in Bayelsa State. By the time the dust settled, except a church, there was nothing standing in the whole town. We should have learnt something from the Odi experience.
We had argued in this column that some of the crises including insurgency and separatist movements were traceable to poor leadership and hunger. The number of young people that respond to Nnamdi Kanu’s call can only be explained by the fact that they cannot see a future in this country. Their description of Nigeria is anything but dignifying. Wishing those away or approaching them with brute force can only drive them underground. If that is what we intend to achieve, then we have recorded success. I, however, don’t agree that the solution is to muscle the young agitators and send them underground. And that was the reason I heaved a sigh of relief when the governors of the South east started to engage with them before Python Dance. I thought it was the right thing to do, rather than the hitherto ineffective strategy of ignoring them. The “ignore-them-strategy” lasted too long. It is instructive that Nnamdi Kanu’s base was his father’s residence and palace in Afaraukwu  Ibeku, Umuahia. This place is a stone throw from the seat of government of Abia State. I had thought that the government of Abia State should have on its own, opened a dialogue with the leader of IPOB in the spirit of good neighborliness, but alas, nothing was done. Having had the first meeting which, according to the elder statesman Prof. Ben Nwabueze, was successful, I had expected that subsequent meetings would consolidate on the gains of that first meeting.
Sadly, subsequent meetings did not hold as brute force was now introduced instead.  This left me with a lot of questions. Was the Federal government actually aware and being briefed about the meetings with the group? Were the governors aware that Operation “Python Dance” was in the works? If they knew, what was their response? Could they have stopped it, if indeed they considered the engagements with Kanu and his group, serious? After the killings, the governors had another meeting where they proscribed IPOB. Now, I do not know how decisions are made by the governor’s forum, but this particular decision left me very confused. I don’t want to go into the legal technicality of whether the Governor’s Forum which in my understanding, is a forum for peer review, has powers to make that kind of pronouncement or not. I was wondering, if the governors considered that just a few days before, they were negotiating with the leadership of the body that they had just outlawed? In fact, negotiations were still ongoing as the next scheduled meeting was September 18. What is it that had changed to make these governors do a summersault the way they did? Could having been attacked by the army be a reason to call off a dialogue and declare the group illegal? In other words, when did they become illegal?
Now to IPOB, my position is that in a participatory democracy, agitations are normal to the extent that they are non-violent and in accordance with the laws of the land. Listening to some arguments, people have alleged that Nnamdi Kanu set up an army and a Biafran National guard. I must also say that I saw some of the pictures on the social media. What I did not see was that they were armed even with Clubs and sticks! In my own estimation, I thought this was just a joke. An army that is not armed is but a group of people standing in a line. Once you remove arms from an army, they become ordinary people. In any case, the government has its own ways of getting information and if it had information about arms, I would have expected the suspects to be invited for a chat either by the police or other security agencies. That this did not happen points to only one fact, that they were not armed. The group had also maintained its stand against violent confrontation. Having said that I also have some issues with the whole thing about secession of Biafra.
I had argued in the past that history is replete with situations where people called for referendum and lost. The most recent was Brexit which led to the breakaway of Britain from European Union. This referendum did not only ensure the unfortunate breakup of the EU, but the early resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, who, when he set up a date for the referendum was not only confident that the ‘Nos’ would win, but that remaining in the EU was good for Britain. I had also drawn attention to the two referenda held in Quebec region of Canada that had been seeking self-determination for a long time. The proponents kept losing the votes and the people voting were those who secession should ostensibly benefit. Clearly, they didn’t want to secede. It is therefore important to note that the fact that you seek self-determination does not mean that a referendum for it would succeed.
Secondly, granted that the Igbos have been given the shortest end of the stick in several decades, (a matter for another day), I have been an advocate of alternative strategies to achieve equity, justice and fairness in our nation. And I believe that it is possible to achieve these in a restructured and united Nigeria. I also firmly believe that a larger and more equitable Nigeria is better than a balkanized set of small countries. But I am not one of those people that believe that there is anything that is not negotiable. It is on this basis that I would again call for the discussion of the terms along which we can peacefully live together as one nation. 
It is also my considered view that the problems that we are grappling with today, would not go away, if Biafra, Oduduwa or Arewa were to become sovereign nations. Why do I say so? If you take Biafra for instance, the problems of ethnicity will not go away, even if the language is the same. There is no guarantee that the Abia man would not discriminate against the Imo man. Just like the Enugu man and the Ebonyi man may be at each other’s throat when there is no perceived external enemy. After all, after the creation of states in the South east, some states dismissed civil servants who were then from other states as a result of the creation. That problem lingers on till date. I have also been a victim of primordial prejudice and discrimination even in the state from where I come. In the run up to the 2015 general election, I was attacked and vilified by a set of miscreants with the active support of the government of the day, insisting that because I didn’t come from a particular section of the state, I should not present myself for election.
When the electorate ignored them and was set to vote me, these miscreants and charlatans placed caskets in public places in Aba, threatening voters with death if they voted for me on Election Day. This devilish act was also supported by some otherwise “respectable” leaders and elders in the state. So the issue of discrimination cannot just go away because new countries have been created. Enlightenment and exposure help to curb bigotry and discrimination.
Still on IPOB, there is a saying that charity begins at home. A good place to start the agitation is the states in the South East. Other than Anambra, there have been consistent cases of bad governance and brazen stealing of public funds by thieving leaders in the zone. I single out Anambra because it was lucky to have an Ngige who dismantled godfatherism and Peter Obi who worked very hard for the people and now Willie Obiano who combined Strategy with brilliance and skills to make the state a theatre of development. Meanwhile, Anambra has no oil and no derivation. The state of other parts of the South East is marked by decay, de-industrialisation, failing infrastructure, squalor, insecurity and debt. It is, therefore, my opinion that we should hold our leaders more accountable and actually channel our agitation to how the resources that have accrued to the states have been used without losing sight of the bigger picture. They should also show leadership in moments of crises.
To the Federal government I will like to suggest that it is time to begin a process of healing and easing of tension in the polity. We should resist the temptation of using the army to quell every little protest. If we must remain a democracy, we must increase our tolerance level of alternative views and actions. It must be a conscious effort made to reduce the conflicts in the system. The government should promote dialogue and intelligent debates in dealing with disagreements. The government should take a look at its prisons and release citizens that are neither criminals nor convicted inmates. In this list would be members and leaders of IPOB and other agitators who have been detained in the last two years, including the ones recently arrested in Abia State.
The government should also release religious prisoners including El Zakzaky and his followers and others who have been incarcerated for holding different views. The government should not spread the army too thin and open many flanks of war and operations. The government has enough in the fight against Boko Haram and corruption. I have no doubt that if the government does these, the tension in the land will be considerably reduced and the government will focus on reviving and diversifying the economy, creating jobs, and fixing infrastructure. This in itself will reduce agitations and productively engage our youths who will cease to be idle. It will also solve the hunger problem which has spiked in the recent times. Our true enemies remain hunger, corruption and docility, not our citizens.
  • Bawa Garba

    Where is the report of the human rights committee that visited Zaria in the aftermath of the army’s clash with some Shi’ites?

  • vic

    BUHAR IS THE DANCING PYTHON HERE, HE IS INCAPABLE OF DOING ANYTHING BETTER.

  • Country man

    Mr Otti,
    Your article is very good and straightforward. When tribalism and bigotry is so deeply entrenched that it beclouds rational reasoning, no nation will develop whether its a mono ethnic state or not. The problem only comes closer home once the external enemy disappears.

    Many are aware how you lost the elections; with clannishness causing an ethnic group to place tribalism above merit(even though you would have won fair and square).
    Hopefully, all and sundry have learnt their lessons and it should be a different case for you come 2019(I suggest bringing in international observers, especially in the 3 rigged LGA’S).

    Finally on the govt of the day doing something about hunger, corruption, etc, till this nation is restructured, we will continue to be the butt of jokes among serious nations

  • KWOY

    For the meantime, Ohaneze, Igbo human rights groups, Igbo lawyers, Igbo journalists, Igbo politicians, etc must insist on the military & the Buhari-led FG producing Nnamdi Kanu & his parents!

  • Fowad

    Python Dance appears to me that government toed a soft line. Buhari was careful not to allow a conflagration. He did not want to step on easterners toes.
    To consider the military action overly aggressive is unfair. That is the truth. Go to the West and see how they treat internal aggression. You will bow. We can unite if we want to. It is sad that we don’t want it. Some people across the country are making pecuniary gain from our disunity

  • Godwin Nosike

    This write up is very much on point. This is the simple summary of the way to go in Nigeria. It has always been my opinion that violence begets violence. The fact that IPOB has remained largely non-violent should be enough reason for the government to have engaged the proponents of the group. Unleashing violence on them have very huge potentials for birthing a militia who will in turn become violent to protect themselves.

    The evidence of good leadership is to acknowledge our mistakes and take necessary steps to make amends. Even going by the positions of the International Community on the proscription of IPOB, the FGN needs to take an urgent and immediate step backwards to review their actions towards IPOB so far. If clearly they have made mistakes, there is absolutely nothing wrong in righting those wrongs. It will instead create a healing effect on the polity and douse the heightened tensions permeating the whole nation now. Taking a very hard stance on issues without any merits only smacks of autocracy and shows very poor leadership skill.

    The economy of the nation has remained largely moribund and in shambles for years and no clear government action in addressing this situation is being seen, yet we choose to use a sledge hammer to kill the IPOB fly. Please FGN, refocus the sledge hammer on the economy and ameliorate the sufferings of the masses. Thank you for being a listening government – or are you?

  • KWOY

    1. I thank you for this! This is probably your best piece that I have ever read. And it is great because you have decided to speak from your heart as much as possible rather than to be politcally correct. Commentatorss from other places have always been brazen in telling their lies & spewing their hate against us in their numbers, but when our people speak they do all their best to be politically correct in order not to offend because of the conquered status we occupy.

    2. That said, why Buhari can ‘temporarily’ escape justice for the criminality he has perpertraed against harmless people, goaded on by tribes who think that the best way to get even with the Igbo (their perpetual competitors!) is to lie & play double standard, is because we have remained a conquered people since 1966. But let nobody make mistakes: It is not over with the Igbo. Our enemies should not yet go to town! Surely, another spring shall rise. You will see!

  • RumuPHC

    A very carefully executed balancing act by a technocrat cum politician over an explosive issue that easily exposed the biases and pretenses of columnists that attempted to venture . Bravo!

    I suppose Dr Alex Otti approached the SE saga of Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB agitation and the military launched Python Dance in response including others, brilliantly with the measure of neutrality expected of any serious public analyst and social commentator.

    Truth be told , and as aptly exposed here by Mr Otti, there was spectacular failure to act expediently by every authority and participant responsible for the unfortunate crisis. Expectedly, all Involved got serious knocks without fear or favour from the writer. This is how it should be.

    It is solutions to our challenges as a nation that we should seek and not advantages for sections or ethnic groups of the country. It is easier to resolve problems when the causes are known and Alex Otti correctly nailed the underlying issues when he stated that the crises are “traceable to poor leadership and hunger”. Our agitations therefore should be directed to enthronement of good leadership and conquest of hunger. Undoubtedly this ought to be the best deal for all.

    There is need to steer the ship of state towards calmer waters . It is only in such climate development thrives . The failure of leadership and underdevelopment in Nigeria cannot be better illustrated than the routine manner military personnel and hardware are sprung upon poor uninformed youths to resolve civil related matters.

    Naturally street urchins not children of elites are the canon fodder. Relatedly no tears are shed for waifs. From SAP riots through June 12 to IPOB; the story is the same.

    It is time we stopped this senseless drift to anarchy.The panacea proposed by Dr Otti could be a reasonable approached if considered by government and gladiators alike. There is no winner in any war.

    • William Norris

      There’s nothing neutral about Mr Otti’s commentary.

      He’s seeking political office. When you seek to be a Manager of the British Colony called Nigeria, you must publicly proclaim your loyalty to the continued existence of a United Nigeria. That’s what ALL the Igbo governors have done recently.

      Even Nnamdi Kanu will eventually roll over and pledge his fealty to the Zoo. Asari Dokubo and the militants, all the NADECO chieftains….where are they? These are Black Africans, they don’t have the mental strength to sustain any kind of ideological struggle.

      • Don Franco

        Dear William Norris,

        It is within Dr. Otti’s rights to seek political office; l believe he’ll make a better leader than most of the leaders we currently have in office.
        Asari Dokubo, at 53 years old, has given a good account of himself; and the piece that the Zoo enjoy in Rivers State today is largely due to his and Ateke’s good graces. I’m sure you’re aware that Nnamdi Kanu was offered all manner of bribe as enticement to stop his agitation, by the Zoo, but he declined to accept.
        Weren’t MLK, Malcom X and Azikiwe Africans that exhibited the most sustained sterling of leadership qualities?
        Don’t judge our race of people too harshly; at least we have not caused the death of 50 million people in World Wars in the same century; nor perished 20 million souls in a gulag archipelago.

        • William Norris

          To the killers…..oops, I mean, winners….go the spoils.

        • Milito

          Easy guys! While I think Dr Alex Otti’s article chronicled and espoused the truth and kudos to him for that bravery, I must also state that within the lines I could see his bias when he used the opportunity to attack the Abia state government. Anyway he is entitled to that bias first as a human and secondly as a politician who incidentally lost the fight for the governorship.

          Also I must say that talk is cheap but execution is a different ball game. We Nigerians are always brilliant with ideas especially in governance and football matters but when given the chance to execute we collapse like a pack of cards.

          Dr Otti showcased his leadership qualities as the CEO of Diamond Bank and to some extent performed well but his prescriptions here on handling opposing views and agitations for rights were at contrast to his approach then when he violently clampdown on management staff who don’t agree with him as well as the infamous protest by contract staffs.

          Having said all this , I commend his submission. My respect sir as a former subordinate!

          • Don Franco

            Dear Milito,

            Running a financial services company like Diamond Bank is child’s play compared to managing the ever-changing dynamics of politics; the interests in politics and banking are different, distinct and separate; as are the bottom lines.
            Methinks that Dr. Alex Otti will make a better politician than he did a banker, bearing in mind the ignominy that occasioned his exit from Diamond Bank; trying to edge out the Dozies who effectively founded the bank, and collaborating with Obi-Jackson to attempt a forced takeover…
            At any rate, he’s well situated for the intrigue upon intrigue that is the bread and butter of successful nigerian politicking; besides, he’s got the grey matter to navigate the demagoguery that goes with politics in the nigerian context.
            If I wasn’t from Imo State, I would definitely vote for him in 2019 (IPOB allowing).

          • Ibrahim Olawale Uche

            Otti could not have attempted a takeover of Diamond. This garbage started after he voluntarily left the bank to contest election. Was Dozie selling his shares? If yes, how could that be a forceful takeover? Please check your facts properly before disparaging people on a forum like this. Most capitalists begin to look for what they will accuse their employees of when they leave on their own terms. They would rather be the one firing. Otti left an excellent record in the bank. I hope his successors are able to do as well. It requires hard work not bad mouthing. I speak from a point of knowledge. Thank you.

          • Don Franco

            Dear Ibrahim Olawale Uche,

            Otti certainly couldn’t have tried his stunt while he was still employed at Diamond Bank; hence he resigned and initiated it with his insider knowledge; but unknown to him the Shareholders Agreement had a clause that entitled Dozie to a right of first refusal in the event of sale of Actis’ shares; and the rest like they say is history.
            You clearly do not speak from a point of knowledge, or else, you’d be familiar with the facts, as I am.
            In any event, it is clear that you have taken Panadol for Alex Otti’s headache; most likely, you would have benefited from his ignoble deed; l hope you get well soon. Do be well.

          • Ibrahim Olawale Uche

            Dear Don, I hate to engage you on this matter because you are either ignorant or mischievous. You have changed your comment about how he left. Your first comment was that he was forced out. You now say he resigned and launched his bid from outside. Again I will like to inform you that the Actis sale happened while Otti was there and clearly before he did the N50b rights issue. The Actis shares were bought by Carlyle and not Dozie. Go and ask the people giving you wrong information to tarnish someone’s image to learn gratitude for a change. Actis held about 13% of the bank. Buying those shares could not have led to takeover. Did Carlyle take over the bank when it bought those shares. Your sponsors have misled you. Tell them that the only way the bank would be taken over from them is that they are willing to sell. That kind of sale can only be voluntary. We are intelligent people not dunces. I have gone to this length to set the records straight. Someone had peddled this garbage before and I went to investigate it and found that the facts do not support the allegation. I can give you more information if you are interested. Facts are sacred. I rest my case and wish you well.

          • Don Franco

            Dear Ibrahim Olawale Uche,

            Actis, like some of the other shareholders were diluted down when Carlyle made that $150m investment in2 the Bank; however when Actis decided to completely exit the bank and sell off their equity; Alex conspired with Ernest Obiejesi of Nestoil to take over the Bank by acquiring those Actis shares, and they almost succeeded; had Fola Adeola not come the rescue of the Dozies. That is how Uzoma is GMD of the bank 2day…
            Alex Otti overplayed his hand. That is the long and short of it. I have no dog in this fight; and will not put my neck on the block for anyone. You can swear by Alex Otti; I envy you, but I’m not jealous.

          • Ibrahim Olawale Uche

            The dog that I have in the fight is to ensure that the truth is told. I hate a situation where people who should be grateful set out to malign their benefactors. If you know how public companies work you would know that your statement about Carlyle’s investment is not true. You can only buy existing shares except when there is a public offer. And there has not been one in almost 10 years in Diamond Bank. So Carlyle bought somebody’s shares. If it invested in the bank as deposit it won’t dilute shareholders. Your allegation about Otti buying Actis shares is also untrue. Like I said earlier, when this allegation started, I carried out an investigation as I was then a major shareholder. Both Actis and Ernest said it was a lie. You can check with them if you have access to them. Again, if Actis was selling and Otti had money to buy, what crime did he commit? If he has that money today, he would buy seven times the number of shares than he would have bought 3 years ago. If you factor in the loss in value of the Naira by over 200%, you should tell me if Fola Adeola, by your account, helped them or sank them. Finally, the decision to make Uzoma a DMD and later M.D. was Alex Otti’s idea. His father was not in a position to do that. You may wish to Check this information. I must state that I’m not close to Otti, but I love his courage, hard work and intelligence. I also love the money he made for us in Diamond Bank.

          • Don Franco

            You have said so much, yet you said nothing. Seeing as your account of the facts and circumstances of Alex Otti”s ignoble conduct is replete with factual inaccuracies, let agree with you that you shouldn’t say anything anymore about this matter. I, also am a major shareholder in Diamond and advised the family, legally; in those terrible days. Be well.

          • Milito

            Please spare your breath and energy on this olawale guy. He is either a paid image launderer or beneficiary of Otti’s harvest of damacles! You stated the facts but I must add that the attempted forced take over was even while Otti was still the MD/CEO of the bank. That failure occasioned his sudden exit from the bank. To prove that further, all his boys and allies in the bank then have all unceremoniously been sacked from the bank after Uzoma took over. It’s unprofessional for me to pour out the list here otherwise I would have done that!

            Was Otti a brilliant banker ? Ofcourse he was and credit to him for taking the bank to an unprecedented height. When he came on board, he started with so much employee and customer oriented policies and before we say jack , the bank became the toast of the industry. However I found it curious that the same man who started with a seemingly high reputation for integrity and hard work (I remember how he brazenly sacked lots of staff on the basis of integrity and indiscipline) ended up attempting to commit the mother of all fraud – forceful takeover!

            That for me is more than being fraudulent but also shows ingratitude to a man who gave you a platform to reach the zenith of your banking career after all the marginalization and tribalistic oppression you suffered in FBN. I am neither for him nor the dozies who also seem to have reaped their reward for not appreciating Emeka Onwuka for all his good works in the bank. I do not judge Otti and will never discount his ingenuity/brilliance. I also think he will perform very well as a governor but with his antecedent plus the usual demons inherent in typical Nigerian politician, he will manipulate the system too.

            Without prejudice to all the aforementioned, I still think his submission on the topic in question is brilliant and spot on. I stand with him on this …

          • Nkem Okike

            Milito, Limit your personal issues with Dr. Alex Otti to your good self and don’t bring it forth into any public discuss.

          • Milito

            Sorry Nkem, i don’t think you have the right to such advice. Our political sentiments cum analysis is a subject of our personal and public experience. His article is also laced with his personal and public bias against the Abia state government .So why must mine be different ?

            Above all, i was objective and balanced in my analysis . i have no personal issues with him but i experienced how he handled issues in the bank as a staff (some quite commendable but some absolutely horrible…) You are disappointed right? probably because i did not chose to be a lackey like you .

      • FrNinja

        You Norris don’t have the mental strength to see people for who they are. Instead you retreat into racist mumbo jumbo analysis like a child.

      • Nkem Okike

        William Noris, You failed to address the issues raised by Dr. Alex Otti and descended on his person. If i may ask, what is wrong in seeking for a political office? Is seeking for a political office no longer for altruistic reasons? Or is there any other thing U are not telling Nigerians concerning Dr. Alex Otti?U better grow up and stop behaving like a child.

  • comradeferdy

    Thanks once again Dr. Alex for this objective and balanced intervention. Good governance remains the only and most effective tool to quell these agitations springing up at every nook and cranny of the country, not extreme military force.

    Democracy provides for opposing views, and dialogue should be the first strategy in responding to such views, even if such views are not going to be accepted, they must be listened to.

  • obinnna77

    When you have the mentality of a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Don’t feign suprise at the turn of events; it was entirely predictable. The jury is out, though on the mid to long-term effects.

  • Chima Okereke

    A brilliant piece as usual.

    On the success of the sit-at home order issued by Nnamdi Kanu from the confines of Kure prisons; its success is attributable to a combination of factors; Nnamdi Kanu’s sit-at-home order was the catalyst, but the largest contributing factor was the fear of being caught up in the likely crossfire that may ensue between the army and IPOD, which hitherto had been the hallmark of every IPOD protest, from Onitsha to Aba and Oji River. Each time IPOD engaged on what it called nonviolent protest, the army had always responded with heavy hands. Therefore, it made common sense for people to expect the same trend. Their survival instinct kicked in to the effect that they stay away from likely theater of violence, which was always going to be the street and roads around town. Indeed, people actually complied, out of fear of attack. And that was where Kanu began his downward spiral. You see, there is a problem in the affairs of man. When men begins to record success one after another, hubris sets in, he begins to see himself as invincible, forgetting that his success may be attributable to factors beyond him (act-of-god, fate, luck etc). Not knowing where to pull the brake, he continues on his adventure, in the process he makes more enemies, and end up destroying all his good works. That is the Nnamdi Kanu’s situation today.

    Nnamdi Kanu is a small boy, listening to him sometime leaves me with a serious sense of pity for his capacity at rational reasoning. Ask him about the boundaries of his proposed Biafra, he will start from Benue to Rivers state. Ask the Benue or the Rivers man if they are in agreement with Kanu’s position, they will immediately repudiate Kanu and his proposals. Yet the young man was never embarrassed. So sad.

    I have read the Ahiara declaration couched by the late literary giant Chinue Achebe, upon which the Igbo nation empowered Ikemba to declare Biafra. The intellectual content of that declaration remains sound till date. What is the intellectual content of IPOD’s massage? None. What is their modus operandi? Insult. Insult Igbo leaders, insult Yorubas, insult the north, insult all and sundry. Then I ask, how does that advance IPOD’s cause?

    To worsen matters, the little boy gathered a group of jobless youth gave them uniform and branded them Biafran Army, Biafra Marine, etc. I think he was playing a minds game with the state. Frighten the state into negotiation with him, if possible. What was the result? Operation Python Dance 2, with its horrible consequences.

    I totally agree with your position on militarizing the South East zone and escalating avoidable tension, rolling out the army under any guise to face unarmed citizens was totally uncalled for and cannot be justified under any circumstance. But don’t forget that he, who fetches an ant-infested wood, invites lizards to his house for supper.

    Nigerian army is anything but modern or civilized in their thinking and mode of operation. Have we forgotten that close to a thousand Shiite Muslims were gunned down in the most vicious of manners and up till today, they have not gotten justice. Their leader is still in detention after several court orders authorizing his release. It was the late Right Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe who once said “it is only a mad man that argues with a man with gun” This is not cowardice. It is common sense. Growing up, I loved to fight. But I also treasure the opportunity to tell the story of the fight. It is only a man who returns from the war front that can narrate his war front experience. So, size up your opponent and apply common sense when needed. Can the dead come back to life? No.

    I have always maintained, no matter how far Nigeria runs, Nigeria cannot escape the negotiation table, if this nation is to be preserved. The earlier we sit down to work out an agreeable, workable and progressive governance structure, the better for us.

    What I expected of IPOD before pythons began to dance, was for IPOD to handover the agitation to the intellectual giants in Igbo land. Personalities like Chief Ben Nwabueze, should have been handed over the task of intellectually advancing the cause of the Igbo nation. But how can the new emperor in town, the new supreme leader be humble enough for such nonsense. Very unfortunate.

    • obinnna77

      Superficial waffle. It’s not about personalities, dig deeper, if you are perspicacious enough. Ask yourself why Kanu was being so provocative, why Nwabueze, your ‘intellectual’ , foremost professor of constitutional law, subordinates himself to the ‘little’ boy? Owu ihe nine k a ana e ku pu ta. Think deeper, less pedestrian. You can obviously articulate sentences. Now, go beyond that.

    • Don Franco

      Dear Chima Okereke,

      You have written very badly! It is your kind of thinking that has delayed the actualization of Biafra. For 47 years, your “intellectual giants in Igboland” has cowardly refused to address the issue of the gross marginalization of our people by the Hausa-Fulani jackboots; it took the appearance of Ohamadike for the great awakening that we’re all experiencing presently to come about, now you suggest that he handover IPOB to other parties, wasn’t that how Ralph Uwazurike and MASSOB lost the plot?.
      Why do you think that no less personalities than Dr. Pat Utomi, Professor Ben Nwabueze, Dr. Charles Soludo, and the great Econometrist, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe all went to visit Kuje Prison, and to sign surety for Nnamdi Kanu’s bail? I’m sure these men do not qualify as “intellectuals” in Okerekeville. Why has Ohaneze and Aka Ikenga that were toothless bulldogs before now, all of a sudden, found their voices again? Haven’t you heard of another “Nnamdi Kanu” known as Adeyinka Grandson; you had better check Youtube. There must be something in the water in London that breeds freedom fighters and liberators. This Lugardian zoo will not survive the fire next time.

      • Chima Okereke

        Dear Don Franco

        I am not for Biafra.

        Without expending energy on why I believe that Biafra is not the best option for the Igbo nation, let me ask you a very basic question. Does it make sense that a people, who are highly enterprising and are primarily into commercial pursuit, should opt for a small economic space (in the name of Biafra), instead of engaging the Nigerian nation, to restructure, on the basis of equity, justice and fairness, in order to not only retain the present economic space offered by a bigger country, but also to address the issues of marginalization inherent in the present structure that is Nigeria ?

        Please reflect on this and answer me in all sincerity.

        Nice day.

        • Jon West

          A small contribution my dear friend. The Jews are all over the world and powerfully so, but they still have the state of Israel, a haven from all their sad past history of pogroms, genocide and global spite. Yes, Nigeria is a great playground for the Igbo, but perhaps the other participants have always undermined the Igbo and some of them are irredeemably backward, ignorant and have a really rural world view. Perhaps a Biafra will be an escape from this intellectual and mental concentration camp.

          • Chima Okereke

            You are a delight to read any day.
            Though I am not convinced yet as to why Biafra is the best alternative. Not withstanding, I have a lot of respect for your views and intellectual depth.
            But, can we risk all we have invested in Nigeria, for Biafra? I see more challenges. I will rather Nigeria forces Biafra on us. That will galvanize us into an unbreakable bunch, ignite the depth

          • Godwin Arinze Oyeh

            I share your position ,many of our people don’t seem to look at life after Biafra .

          • Chima Okereke

            Sir,
            Please let me come back to you on this issue of Igbos being undermined or resented by other nationalities in Nigeria.
            I was in a shop in London sometime past with a friend to buy a gold necklace. The sales girls were two people of color. A black lady and an Indian girl. In the background, moving around, like any other customer was a man of Jewish descent. For some reason I can’t place a finger on now. My friend took it upon himself to explain to me that the shop actually belongs to the Jewish man. But to deflect envy, most Jewish shop owners employ the locals to run their business for them.
            Now my question. Is it possible that there something we are not doing right? Could it be that we may have to adopt the Jewish style by tying our businesses around the locals in our areas of operation? Maybe, employ them as secretaries, sales girls or office boys. That way, if any sinister plan is being hatched against their sources of livelihood, they may have the incentive to alert the Oga as to what is in the offing, for a proactive and protective action to be taken.
            Also, is it possible for us to consciously and deliberately begin to learn how to tune down our bright colors, especially when success beckons, knowing fully well that success attracts envy?
            It is a fact of human history that the enemy is always without, never within.
            Please what is your thought on this.

          • Jon West

            My answer is quite simple. We are alreay doing what you are recommending, but it wont make any difference, as it has not helped the Jews in America or United Kingdom. I am , at the risk of sounding brave, an expert on genocide, pogroms, and crimes against humanity, having been to almost all genocide hotspots in Europe and Asaba and other killing fields in Nigeria, to talk with perpetrators an survivors.

            Genocide is a result of ethnic envy and you fight it by learning to defend yourself economically and especially physically i.e. By arming yourself. If people don’t like you, they will never like you, so don’t bother being nice to them, just be yourself and very alert.

            In Nigeria, the only people who don’t kill Igbos are the Yorubas, because they like the Igbo are quite comfortable and therefore less prone to unbridled killing. However, the Yoruba, being envious of the Igbo, dont mind instigating other people to kill them as they are doing now and have done in the past.
            The Hausa/Fulani and their Northern and Southern minority allies are the real direct purveyors of death to the Igbos, the Northern minorities being the most used, because they have a belonging need and complex ,in spite of the fact that the Hausa/Fulanis are very contemptuous of them.

            Bottom line, a Tiv or Ijaw man is more likely to kill an Igbo man than a Yoruba and the master killers are the Hausa/Fulani , for the simple reason that being mostly poor, they have no value for human life, including their own lives, hence Boko Haram, Maitasine and all the other mayhem.
            Again bottom line, just protect your self economically , so that you are not dependent on any non-Igbo and protect yourself physically.

            Don’t bother being nice to Nigerians in order to make them love you. It wont happen, its not human to expect your economic and social competitors to love you, especially when you refuse to die no matter what.
            The Jews stare you in the face in America. A Black man can be a USA President (Obama) but a Jew may never be. Can’t you see the similarity with the Igbo situation in Nigeria?

        • Don Franco

          Dear Chima Okereke,

          It makes ample sense for a people imbued with a globalized view of International Trade to opt for ECOWAS, COMERSA and the SADEC regions; in effect, Nigeria is too small and limiting for the Igbo.
          Surely you were in Nigeria when the bill for devolution of power was quickly and roundly defeated in the Senate in August; as was the bill in the House of Representatives for establishment of a fund for rehabilitation of infrastructure destroyed since the Civil War across Eastern Nigeria.
          At some point, you will wake up and smell the coffee; and know that the forces of evil want nothing to do with any programs that will develop Igboland or uplift our people.
          It is within your right to hope, but 47 years is a long time to just be hoping. I can tell you that for a majority of Igbo people, our competition are innovators in Germany, Japan, the US, and Singapore; not those imbued with a caliphate mentality that look to Islamic Religiousity for development, with the predictable results you can see across Nigeria.
          These are my reflections, and l have answered you in utmost sincerity.

        • Don Franco

          Dear Chima Okereke,

          Since when did the Caliphate mentality of your northern overlords become compatible with equity, justice and fairness? Where you not in this country last Christmas eve, when 450 Southern Kaduna Christians were slaughtered in cold blood; and even to date, NOT one single person has been arrested or prosecuted? How can you propose to share the same geopolitical space with Islamic religiousity?
          Abstractly and specifically stated, it makes ample sense for a highly enterprising and commercially inclined people to pursue their globalized worldview and expand their commercial pursuit outside of Nigeria, to the rest of Africa. Nigeria is too small and stifling for the intensity of Igbo commerce.
          l thank you.

        • KWOY

          You can decide to decieve yourself. You are obliiged.

        • Benny

          ‘…..should opt for a small economic space..’ Hogwash!
          That was what they told the Jews prior to WWII before they were massacred. Thereafter,now,they have a homeland and are respected. They Jews are still everywhere but they have a home,period. Igbos are everywhere and will continue to be everywhere even after Biafra. Are Igbos not all over the coast of West Africa? An industrialized Biafra will continue sell to Nigeria regardless.

    • Godwin Nosike

      Well said.

    • Benny

      You are a crass idiot. Ahiara declaration was made in 1969 and not before the Biafra declaration. You might be a government troll but it does not give you the privilege to abuse the young man Nnamdi Kanu. My generation went to war for the reason Kanu and co. are agitating. I didn’t need an intellectual or Ben Nwabueze to tell me of the pogrom in the North where I lost my 2 uncles or directed me to Ehime Mbano Training Depot where I enlisted in 1968 after two earlier rejections for account of age.

      Please drop your pen if you don’t know a sensible thing to write.

    • Ibu Anyi Danda

      This fake Igbo man! iIt is not IPOD but IPOB All Hail Biafra.

  • William Norris

    This sounds almost like Simon Kolawale.

    Those seeking political office in Nigeria certainly know the drill.

    LOL !!!

    • Donald Ibe

      This idiot has started again. Some people should be left to rot in hell where they belong. There is nothing that makes any sense to them because they have ant’s brain. You keep talking of seeking political office. Who told you the author is looking for office? Who told you that if he needed one he wouldn’t have got it? Do you think you are more qualified than him? What gives you the license to be abusing people anyhow because you are hiding under a pseudonym? You must learn to respect yourself. Imbecilic and mentally deranged nincompoop.

      • Don Franco

        Dear Donald Ibe,

        l don’t think that it is right or fair for you to pour invective on William Norris’ head; he only expressed an opinion that even myself disagree with, but his contribution on this forum hardly qualify him as an “idiot” that have “ant’s brain”, he’s anything but. Imbecilic and mentally deranged nincompoop is taking the insults too far. Those who seek respect, must also conform their own conduct according to the requirements of civilized prose. No offense.

        • Fidelis Arumala

          Dear Franco,

          Please stay out of the conversation of these two guys, they will sort themselves out. They have been battling it out here on Dr Alex’s backpage for over two years.

          I must commend Dr. Alex contribution on this increasingly embarrassing PYTHON dance in the South East. President Buhari, should without further ado RESTRUCTURE Nigeria with the 1963 constitution as its basis. This will not take more than six months to achieve. Have a sit down with the leadership of the National Assembly and carry out this TASK. The President has the political goodwill across the North to achieve this TASK since the entire SOUTH have already settled for it. Restructuring Nigeria is a TASK that must be done by this administration.

          • KWOY

            To hell with restructuring now. We no longer need restructuring. At the appointed time those held in slavery will be free!

      • William Norris

        Ahhh, it’s Otti’s homosexual lover.

        Otti must have drilled your asshole really deep for you to lose your mind every time he’s criticized.

        I thought the man contested for Governor of Abia. I could be wrong though !!!

        • Don Franco

          Dear William Norris,

          My apologies to Donald Ibe should be in order, now that you’ve returned fire for fire….
          In any event, be well.

          • Donald Ibe

            Apologies accepted. You can see that the man is mentally deranged. He sounds intelligent when he is sober. If you encounter him when he forgets to take his pills, you won’t like him. I guess today is one of those days. Sometimes, his people would have to force him into admission at the Psychiatric hospital Yaba. That was the place he was located when he was missing in this forum for about 6 weeks. Don’t waste your precious time with him.

          • William Norris

            You’re so obsessed with me that you even keep tabs on my postings on this forum. What a guy.

          • Miss Briggs

            This willam norris, your obsession about the ibos must be responsible for your joblessness otherwise you wont have all this time writing about how much you hate ibos. Go and get a life!

          • William Norris

            I’ve never written anywhere that I hate the Igbo.

            Neither have I told one single lie about the Igbo people.

            If any of the above are not true, please say so.

            It’s a free world. I happen to have a life, as in I’m alive and I can afford the time.

            Thanks for your concern.

        • soulchild

          You are disgusting!!!!

          • William Norris

            Thanks !!!

  • Jon West

    Thank you for a great narrative. Problem is that you are engaging a Herdsman President whose only basis for any modicum of success in life is the Biafran War and the subsequent sad(for the Igbo) fallout. Remove Biafra and the man is simply a Herdsman with the same mindset as those who are terrorizing the entire landscape with his apparent connivance. You canot give what you do not have; that really is the basis of life. We should really blame all those, who , aware of the intellectual limitations of this Herdsman, conspired to inflict him on us. The rest ,as they say ,is history.

    As for IPOB, they have really done Nigeria and especially the Igbo, a great service, warts and all. Somebody has to call these vermin that pretend to be our leaders to order, especially the Governors of the Southeast. These buffoons, masquerading as political leaders ,have nearly converted the Southeast to a backward entity, safe for the natural gifts and culture of the Igbo people.

    I believe that Kanu and his IPOB have outed all of them and they will pay the political price. On a personal note, I am sure you are quite happy at the turn of events, because if (and you must or you will be IPOBed) run for Abia State Governor in 2019, you will sweep to power on the goodwill of the people , engendered by the sufferings of the young man and his tribe of later-day apostles of Igbo deliverance. There may yet be Biafras of the Mind all over the Southeast come 2019, thanks to the audacious Igbo “Jewish Redeemer” wannabe and his apostles.

    • Truth Konveyor

      “Still on IPOB, there is a saying that charity begins at home. A good place to start the agitation is the states in the South East. Other than Anambra, there have been consistent cases of bad governance and brazen stealing of public funds by thieving leaders in the zone. I single out Anambra because it was lucky to have an Ngige who dismantled godfatherism and Peter Obi who worked very hard for the people and now Willie Obiano who combined Strategy with brilliance and skills to make the state a theatre of development. Meanwhile, Anambra has no oil and no derivation. The state of other parts of the South East is marked by decay, de-industrialisation, failing infrastructure, squalor, insecurity and debt. It is, therefore, my opinion that we should hold our leaders more accountable and actually channel our agitation to how the resources that have accrued to the states have been used without losing sight of the bigger picture. They should also show leadership in moments of crises.”