BIAFRA: Kanu’s exit cannot stop agitation for Biafra –Elliot Uko

— 16th December 2017
Secretary General, Eastern Consultative Assembly,  Elliot Uko, has attributed the problem of the Igbo to leadership imposition on the ethnic nation over time. In this interview with VINCENT KALU, Uko, who is the  founder/president, Igbo Youth Movement, expressed surprise that groups and individuals, who were clamouring for restructuring of the country, have become dumb after the military invasion of the country home of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

How is the state of the nation?

The country is in dire strait, and everybody is pretending that all is well. All is not well. The South East where I come from and where I reside is tensed up. There’s a lot of tension. The leadership pretends that they are in control, but they are not in control. The masses are standing on one bank of the river, while the leadership is standing on the other bank, and the Red Sea is in between.

That’s the situation in the South East today. The just-concluded election in Anambra State was a farce. That election was boycotted, as reflected in the number of registered voters against the number of votes cast. If you add that to the brazen buying of votes at polling units openly,  you’ll see that Nigeria is heading the wrong way. When you add, on top of that, the false pretence, the jubilation and celebration of the election by the authorities, you begin to wonder, where are we going? The authorities are so excited that a governor was elected, in spite of the IPOB boycott, so they are willing to accept anything, including a situation where people came with bags and cartons of money and paid voters openly.

Why is the South East troubled?

The region is troubled. There is the peace of the graveyard. The Federal Government and the international community are misled by the silence. They mistake the silence of the people for acquiescence. Nobody is happy in Igboland. The problem with the South East has always been imposed leadership; either imposed directly or imposed through a manipulated electoral system, but imposed all the same.  About 47 years ago, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd) imposed the late Anthony Ukpabi Asika on Ndigbo, and he led East Central State for nine years. That culture of imposing leadership on Ndigbo has persisted up till date. The only difference is that, this time around, the security will vet some people, they will be allowed to run for elections; INEC will conduct elections, the money will exchange hands, and powerful influence-peddlers and carpet-baggers from other zones will impose someone here in the east, and INEC will announce him the winner. The results are written, sometimes in Government Houses, sometimes in hotel rooms, and they are announced, but they are all imposed on us. Igboland has been suffering from imposed leadership.

Anthony Ochefu replaced Asika. Few months later, John Atom Kpera replaced Ochefu. And ever since then, they have been imposition of leaders on Igboland. Later, they brought Datti Sadiq Abubakar for Anambra and then Sunday Adinihun for Imo, before the advent of Mbakwe and Jim Nwobodo.

They were all imposed by cabals – Supreme Military Council, Armed Forces Ruling Council, or Provisional Ruling Council, but those cabals of the military are usually of northern extraction, who would sit down in Lagos or Abuja and impose leaders on Ndigbo.  This culture of imposed leadership has been going on in Igboland for over 47 years. It has destroyed our values, destroyed our future, and kept Ndigbo in political prison. What we have now is a different kind of imposition, where the police play a role, INEC plays a role, security plays a role, and political leaders play a role. For the past 16 years, leaders in Igbo and were decided in Wadata House, Abuja. That Wadata House would decide who to run for Senate in Igboland, who would be governor. No matter how popular you may be, if Wadata House does not like you, when your people organize their own primaries to vote for you, Wadata House will send representatives from INEC, they will go to one hotel, and they will elect who Wadata House has chosen. That person will be imposed on us as a Senator, whether we like it or not. Ndigbo are conquered people, political slaves in Nigeria. The culture of imposed leadership has brought us to where we are today – the weeping baby of Nigeria. One of the most gifted people in the world cannot find their bearing politically. What we have today is an angry population. They are angry with Operation Python Dance, they are angry with the attack on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s residence on September 14 and 15; they are angry with the silence of the so-called elite, they are angry with the suspected complicity of the political leadership. Our masses are angry with Nigeria. Most importantly, everybody now reveres Nnamdi Kanu. Wherever you go in Igboland, every market, every school, every office, at the secretariats, at the churches, at the bars, in all public places, what they are saying is, God bless Nnamdi Kanu.

Since soldiers attacked his house, nobody has seen his corpse. We don’t know his whereabouts. Kanu remains the eternal hero of the people of the eastern region. Nobody is talking about restructuring. It has died. Nnamdi, dead or alive, is revered, he is respected, and he is loved by all. He is deeply resented by apostles of the status quo, he is deeply resented by those who love Nigeria as currently constituted. Kanu is resented by the oppressors, resented by those who have held us in bondage. He remains the hero of 99.9 per cent of the people of the eastern region. Do you know why they love him? They love him because he has not compromised. They see it clearly. They know, if he had compromised, they would not have wanted to kill him. It is clear for all to see that the only reason why attempts have been made to kill him is because he refused to be bought over. So people love him, unlike others who pretend they are like Kanu but the oppressors love them, because they are conmen. If they were genuinely committed to the freedom of their people, like Kanu, the oppressor will not love them, dine with them, eat with them. They would have tried to kill them as they tried to kill Kanu.

Like you stated earlier, why are the youth of eastern region angry with Nigeria?

This is a question people ask me everyday. The answer is simple. About 99 per cent of them, are angry with Nigeria as now constituted. Who will not be angry with a country that deliberately schemes you out of things? Deliberately, they keep you out. Who will not be angry with a country that denies you necessary infrastructure in your region? Who will not be angry in a country that was built at your expense, where states and local governments were deliberately created to oppress you and enslave you perpetually? Who will not be angry in a country where 90 per cent of young people who want to gain university admission are deliberately and effectively screened out of a university education by a system that gives them higher cut-off mark, while people from other regions will be getting admission with a very low cut-off mark? The aim is just to keep them off from going to school, and asking them to go and try kidnapping or armed robbery. Who will not be unhappy, who will not be bitter, with a country where the structure is so unwieldy that states can’t pay salaries, and every cry to go back to the regions is resisted by the oppressors, who designed the country to be fully dependent on oil rent? Who will not be angry with a very inept leadership? Leaders who have spent trillions of naira, and still we don’t have power today; leaders who steal day and night, leaders who care only about themselves. Who will be happy with such a country? But, most importantly, the youth of the eastern region want to opt out because the oppressors refuse to enthrone equity and justice by restructuring Nigeria along the lines of regional autonomy. The principal reason why millions of youths of eastern region have sworn to leave Nigeria to form a country of their own, where they can be free, is because the country, as currently structured, does not offer them any hope. They can see clearly that they will remain eternal slaves in the country the way it is structured; in the manner states and local governments are created. I stand by them. They are my people, and I stand by them. If you look at the country the way it is, you will see clearly that the only people who are happy with Nigeria are those who are benefiting directly from the ills of the country, who have access to the till, and their surrogates. Those who are politically active enough to enjoy patronage at the expense of the larger population.

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