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‘Biafran’ Simon Ekpa and the voice of Satan

Recent developments in and about the South East geopolitical zone of the country, have spawned a throw-back to an earlier article on this column dated…

Recent developments in and about the South East geopolitical zone of the country, have spawned a throw-back to an earlier article on this column dated November 28 2015, and titled ‘Biafra, Biafra, Biko Ozoemena’. The word ‘Ozoemena’ is an Ibo word which means, ‘never again’, and was used in the piece as an appeal to all who may be chasing the actualisation of Biafra with the deficit of effective planning and surfeit of presumptuousness which marked and doomed the earlier 1967 venture by Odumegwu Ojukwu. Specifically, the article came when it did, as a response to a swirling drama featuring the story of a pirate ‘Radio Biafra’ which was operated by the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and without a broadcast license from the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Needless to state here that the facility provided a significant boost to the pro-Biafra campaign, and that  much of the issues for which the IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu is still in detention today, can be attributed to the use of that facility to drive the campaign for Biafra, in a manner that discomfited the Nigerian power establishment.

This was just as the enterprise of ‘Radio Biafra’ engendered a wrong response from the Federal Government which rather than tackling the menace of the prospects of technological weaponisation of a media organ ‘Radio Biafra’, media was more inclined to engaged in serial crackdown on dozens of pro-Biafra agitators. Today that error of judgment by the government has spawned a monster for both the IPOB and the rest of Nigeria, in the form of a Simon Ekpa with a fresh nuisance value he offers the country.

The trigger for this throwback remains a complement of recent developments which promise a renascence of the South East from its apparent collapse in two years under the auspices of a deleterious ‘Sit at Home’ order, following a run of developments in that direction.  First is the build-up of official resistance to the compliance with the illegal order from the ascendancy of Charles Soludo as governor of Anambra State when he adopted as part of state policy, the termination of the ‘Sit at Home’ order. Soludo was followed by other factors such as Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, Governor of Enugu State who just came into office and demonstrated a political will to take the ‘Sit at Home’ dispensation head-on. Other relevant interventions include the motion sponsored by two South East Senators namely Osita Izunaso and Harcourt Abaribe, on the floor of the Senate in respect of courting nationwide engagement with the issue.

However, easily the most significant of these postures against the ‘Sit at Home’ challenge was the recent rebuttal of the dispensation by none other than Nnamdi Kanu himself. His response came in the wake of a seemingly run-away situation in the IPOB system where his grip seems to be slipping down the pole. And the factor that may be accentuating this tendency is none other than Simon Ekpa. If nothing else, the enterprise in recent times of Simon Ekpa has come to place in a graphic accent, the new global context which the IPOB issue is not only assuming, but demands a pan-Nigerian response to its fresh mutations.

A former ally of Kanu, Ekpa has in the absence of Kanu not only jumped ship,   but  assumed the airs of a replacement of his leader. Presently, he has taken his nuisance value some notches up as he is now presenting to the world a false paradigm of distorted realities of the Nigerian state where it matters most– on the foreign scene.

Ensconced in the comfort of his adopted home in faraway Finland, Simon Ekpa has hijacked the organisation’s network and is now running on auto pilot – and stoking the fire of ‘Sit at Home’, in his native Iboland, and even when its utility been decried and IPOB has even distanced itself from the dispensation. He has also been fingered as engaging in diplomatic ventures which have the potential of embarrassing the country.

Capitalising on the clout of IPOB on the global network of Ibos across the world, he is running a ‘Biafra Republic’, with a dubious narrative before the world. And this is the turning point in the IPOB saga which Nigeria needs to be concerned about, as the situation may have eventually created a Frankenstein that is beyond the control of its creators.

Summing all such developments together points to a paradigm shift in the separatist movement for the actualisation of Biafra: a problem that is wrongly considered as belonging exclusively to the South East, whereas it is a challenge for the Nigerian federation with the epicentre located in the South East. For that was how the Boko Haram challenge was initially seen as a North East problem until it showed itself as truly a national sore that has swept sleep off the faces Nigerians from boundary to boundary. After all, a matter that the country fought a civil war over, cannot and should not be swept under the carpet.

And it is in this context that the present rally of activities around IPOB provides the nation the opportunity to drive a course towards a sustainable panacea to the uneasy relationship between the South East and the rest of the country. As things stand, except for the purpose of playacting or wilfully proceeding in self-deceit, the relationship between the South East and the rest of the country has a wide room for improvement.

The situation therefore calls for a deft response by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to capitalise on the trending developments and enhance a new narrative on the South East political atmosphere. As it is the topic issue now may no more be Nnamdi Kanu but Simon Ekpa who by his proclivity towards killings and wastage of life may be answerable only to the voice of the devil. Tackling his challenge with all that the country can muster, remains the right path to follow now. For to stop Simon Ekpa is a task that needs to be done.

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