My Advice To Those Calling For Nnamdi Kanu’s Release, By Fredrick Nwabufo

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Fredrick Nwabufo
We must tread with circumspection. We must follow reason. Why are we inclined to misadventures? Why are we not having conversations on how the south-east can work with the federal government to improve the infrastructural standing of the zone, and how we can take advantage of the decentralisation of electricity; revive industries and inland ports? Why are we lost in a jive of the mundane, lamentations, finger-pointing, blame-shifting, and denial?
It is concerning that a section of the south-east is not, in the immediate, prioritising needed public ingredients and development convenience for the zone. The dominating interest appears to be securing the freedom of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). A cluster of the region’s citizens seems to have abandoned elemental conversations of development critical to the growth of the zone for this lone vocation in their entreaties to the government.
It appears the priority item the south-east seeks is securing the freedom of Nnamdi Kanu. This is while other zones are having seminal conversations on how to mushroom development.
At a time other zones are tabling critical interest and matters pivotal to their development, the south-east’s appears to be pursuing the solitary cause of securing the freedom of a man whose industry led to the brutal murder of many Nigerians, including that of the husband of the late Dora Akunyili, former minister of information, in the crimson streets of Nkpor in Anambra.
Conversations on the south-east in the past eight years have not changed. It is a new administration, but the same conversations have been reacquainted and sounded as the commanding and defining motif of the next four years. When are we going to start discussing the fundamentals of development as they relate to the zone?
Some say the release of Nnamdi Kanu will bring peace to the south-east. How could this be? Is this the only option for peace? Seeking peace on bended knee? But we forget that Kanu was released at a time with guarantees from prominent Nigerians from the south-east and traditional rulers from the zone, but he reneged on all pledges after his release and unleashed a monstrosity of evil belched from the bowels of hell on the people.
It is important to pursue peace, but it is more important to pursue it from the bearings of strength. It is injustice to those killed, and those still being killed to seek the release of the progenitor of the barbarism while their blood still colours the ground red. Really, I doubt that the release of Nnamdi Kanu will bring peace to the south-east. What are the guarantees?
The security agencies had succeeded in decimating IPOB. At the close of 2022, security agencies had succeeded in degrading the capacity of the insurgents to launch attacks, pulverising their camps, and arresting their leaders. The insurgents were becoming but whispers in a noisy concourse. Peace was returning at last. However, a wraith of fear hovered around the region – residents still observed the abominable sit-at-home every Monday.
What some governors of the zone failed to do at the time – on the success of the security interventions — was to seize the moment and build residents’ confidence in the capacity of the government to protect them. I recall Chukwuma Soludo, governor of Anambra state, took initiative, seized the moment, and launched a campaign to retake citizens’ trust and confidence. I see this is what Peter Mbah, governor of Enugu state, is doing now – with his public ban on the ludicrous sit-at-home oppression. This is also what Ifeanyi Ubah, senator representing Anambra south, seems to be doing in Nnewi at the moment, with the campaign against the sit-at-home criminality.
The IPOB-hostage situation in the south-east will need, principally, the residents’ commitment, sincerity, and courage to break. A gang of routed insurgents cannot keep a people in its thrall in perpetuity. When the people are willing to rise and break free; the troublers of the nation will retreat into the void.
Today, the insurgents are re-emerging from oblivion and defeat. On Monday, they reportedly attacked a public place in Ebonyi; on the same day, they were reported to have attacked a school in Enugu, where they assaulted some pupils. What could be responsible for this resurgence?
The trenchant cry for the release of Nnamdi Kanu could be emboldening his insurgents to seize the zeitgeist and press for the same demand in the language of violence. To them, it is now a bounden duty; a righteous cause since prominent citizens are demanding the same of the government. They feel justified in their actions. It is a tightrope to walk.
It is disturbing that the leader of IPOB whose hands are darkened by guiltless blood is being framed as a victim who is unjustly held by the government.
It is important for us as a people to re-assess our priorities. If the overarching priority of the south-east is to secure the freedom of Nnamdi Kanu; then so be it. I am only but a voice calling for reason, tact, and deep reflection on our choices.
There are items I believe should be of top priority at this time for the zone – particularly infrastructure. Again, how do we take advantage of the decentralisation of electricity? How do we bring back the industries – as over 60 percent of them have shut down in the zone? The railways? The inland ports? How do we work with the federal government to improve the general infrastructure of the south-east?
My advice is that we must tread with circumspection on this matter.
Fredrick Nwabufo Is A Media Executive.

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