By Theodore U. Nnachi
With his radio station, location unknown, he started re-igniting the spirit of Biafra. This, I will call the third Biafra. As he grew in popularity especially with Keke (tricycle commercial) operators artisans, market people and the vast sea of unemployed Igbo youths across major Igbo-speaking towns, he formed the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
To my mind there is no difference between the new IPOB and MASSOB as both operated the same way with Biafran sun-rising logo, mufflers. T-shirts, etc. some fast guys equally raked in money printing souvenirs, flags, almanacs and gutter press magazines highlighting the spirit of Biafra. A vast majority of Ndigbo were deceived into believing that the United Nations, UN, is sympathetic to the Biafran cause and will “very soon” declare the sovereign state of Biafra. I am yet to ascertain the veracity of this claim. But one thing is certain, a lot of Igbo sympathizers and well-wishers have been cajoled into parting with their money with this kind of reasoning.
From the way things have whittled down as at now in Aba where I live, the IPOB agitation seems to be going the way of MASSOB. This is more so with the serious ban on public processions and protests in Abia State by the state government. Peace seems to be in the air for now but the question is: for how long? Those who have tasted the money-spinning attraction of a Biafra movement would be tempted to take up from wherever and or whenever Nnamdi Kanu steps aside.
In other words, those who have the dare-devil spirit of rising their lives to make money (and they are legion in Igbo land) would still think of making more Biafras in future. This will be so unless the Federal government of Nigeria finds it needful to at least repair and reconstruct federal roads all over the South-East. It should also borrow a leaf or two from the high performing governors of Abia State, Dr Okezie V. Ikpeazu and Mr. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State (the only state governor in Nigeria that still retains the title of “Mr” after six months in office!) Both men within a space of just eight months in office and with the stressful, distractive election cases still performed excellently well. Now that the encumbrances have been put off their necks, I believe they would perform wonders in the two states beginning with ‘A’.
President Buhari should think seriously about making the South East feel accepted. Let him declare a state of emergency on infrastructure, agriculture and industries in the region. Let there be a Marshall plan to restore the dignity of man in all the major cities of Igboland and see the real wonders of the people with the Midas touch.
My beloved uncle before the passed on, used to say, “if you want to eat rabbit stew you must first catch your rabbit”. For there to be lasting peace and less agitations for sovereignty, Igboland must be developed. I will implore other state governors in Igboland to visit Aba now and see the magic a hitherto-unknown man called Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu did in the town and in other parts of the state in spite of dwindling allocations from Abuja. Igboland would be better for it in the long run and believe me, there will be less talk of Biafra.
Nnachi writes from Lagos.