A curious combination of tension and excitement has enveloped the South East following the sudden “resurfacing” on Friday of the Supreme Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
This is as the group confirmed yesterday that their leader would give a live broadcast today at 6.00pm, on the September 14, 2017 onslaught on his ancestral homestead in Afaraukwu, Ibeku Clan, in Umuahia North Local Council, by the military, which culminated in his disappearance.
Since that incident, Kanu, who has been missing was spotted praying in Jerusalem, Israel, on Friday, and a video being circulated by his members, and statements that followed confirmed that he is alive, and well.
In the video, Kanu, decked in Jewish apparel and clutching a prayer book, was seen muttering some words facing the Wailing Wall, in the City of David, Jerusalem. The resurfacing has heralded a fresh wave of worries and jubilation with residents reacting differently to it. In fact, most public places, yesterday, were dominated by discussions, which centred on the issue.
Of worry, however, is a statement allegedly issued by Kanu’s deputy, Law Mefor, insisting that, “IPOB will boycott the 2019 general elections.”
The statement equally enjoined people of the zone not to vote in the exercise.
At some joints in Enugu State, yesterday, IPOB members freely shared drinks in “celebration of our supreme leader,” just as they expressed the hope that the struggle for the realisation of Biafra was drawing nigh, especially with the fresh impetus occasioned by the return of their leader.
The Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, who on Friday confirmed that Kanu was indeed alive, said in a statement, yesterday, that the IPOB family received the news with joy, urging the entire world to await a live broadcast on Radio Biafra today, where Kanu would bring them up to speed with developments since he disappeared last September.
Powerful said: “Following the second coming and appearance of IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who was sighted praying at the Wailing Wall in the City of David in Jerusalem, State of Israel; we the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) wish to announce to Biafrans, friends of Biafra, lovers of freedom, men and women of goodwill across the world that Kanu will be coming live on Radio Biafra London on Sunday October 21, 2018, at 6pm Biafra time.
The statement, which added that the invasion of Kanu’s home by the Nigerian Army led to the death of many IPOB members and other Biafrans, who were visiting him, added that the “IPOB leader and other reputable and hard-core Biafrans would leave no stone unturned in restoring Biafra’s sovereignty, as long as Fulani and other Nigerians are holding Biafrans down. Biafra independence and freedom is gathering momentum around the world right now, and we will not relent in pursuing total Biafran freedom in the near future. With this, we are advising all Biafrans to be resolute and committed towards this fight to free our people from the bondage and slavery in Nigeria,” the statement added.
It urged their members to “inform your friends, families and well wishers to join us on Radio Biafra London on the above date and time, don’t miss the golden opportunity because Biafra is around the corner.”
The statement further informed those interested in the live broadcast tagged, “Gospel of Redemption by Kanu,” on how to tune into the station and phone numbers they could dial to enable them listen to the programme.
They listed South Africa, Lagos, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Edo, River, Delta, and Cross River as some of the areas covered by Radio Biafra.
Reacting to the development, however, apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, expressed delight that Kanu was alive and enjoying his freedom, and warned members of the group to remain calm and peaceful.
National Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze, Uche Achi-Okpaga, said in a statement: “If he is alive, and enjoying his freedom, we give God the glory and pray that the Lord will continue to sustain him in spite of the Shenanigans of the Federal Government. I will continue to appeal to Igbo youths to remain steadfast and peaceful.
“I implore IPOB members to emulate him and follow his footsteps. Let them remain calm, while they pray unto their God, who eventually will do something at the appropriate time. The Bible we read says there is time for everything. If they believe, the Lord will actually make it for them in His own way. I don’t want them to take to violent acts. Of course, they have never been violent; I don’t want them to take measures that the python dancers will see reasons to pounce on them…”
Meanwhile, the Afaraukwu Ibeku Clan has condemned pressure mounted on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, to dethrone Eze Israel Kanu, father of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The Afaraukwu Development Union (ADU), at a press conference addressed by its President General, Chief Emeka Ezebuiro, at the palace of Eze Eddy Ibeabuchi of Okwulaga Community said, rather than agree to dethrone Eze Kanu, lauded the governor for publicly maintaining that the traditional ruler never committed any offence contrary to the laws of the country.
According to him, representatives of Afaraukwu Ibeku comprising Isiama, Okwulaga and Enyiukwu recently visited the governor to present among others, the issue of the whereabouts of Eze Kanu of Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku. The president general disclosed how Ikpeazu promised to engage other South East governors to ensure that Eze Kanu is returned to his people before the end of the year.