•NADECO leaders killed Abiola
Forces opposed to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari have been blamed for the rising calls for restructuring and disintegration of the country. A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and former Minister for Special Duties under the regime of late General Sani Abacha, Elder Wole Oyelese stated this in an interview with TUNDE THOMAS in Ibadan.
Oyelese who also served as Minister for Power and Steel in the same Abacha regime, and later as Special Adviser to a former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar spoke on other national issues including his relationship with Abacha, the death of Chief M.K.O. Abiola, PDP crisis, debates on restructuring among a host of others.
As a former Minister, how would you describe your experience in government?
Very interesting and quite tasking. But my joy was that I was able to serve the nation to the best of my ability. I served this nation as a Minister between 1993 and 1998.That was the period when late Gen. Sani Abacha was the Head of State. Abacha first appointed me Minister of Power and Steel. Later, he assigned me Special Duties portfolio. After Abacha’s death, General Abdulsalam Abubakar who took over from him appointed me as a Special Adviser. Myself and other Ministers left behind by Abacha were initially inherited by Gen Abubakar but later he dropped us. When the news of our removal was announced, I went to Gen Abubakar and asked him why we were being asked to go, he then told me that it was his deputy, the Chief of General Staff, late Vice-Admiral Mike Akhigbe that insisted that he should sack us, and not that we’ve committed any offence. But I consider the period I served Abacha as one of the most glorious period of my political life. Abacha was a patriot whom many Nigerians misunderstood. He was one of the best Presidents Nigeria ever produced if not the best. Abacha was a workaholic who did his best for this country, but unfortunately many Nigerians have been unfair to him. I hope that as we progress with this interview, I would be able able to tell Nigerians more about what they don’t know about the man Abacha.
Between 1999 and now, we’ve had 18 years of unbroken democracy , a situation many Nigerians consider as a plus for our nation because such a thing has never been witnessed before in our political history, what’s your take on that?
It is very unfortunate if we are celebrating or thinking 18 years of unbroken democracy is worthy of celebration. What are we celebrating? If we have been doing things normal way, there wouldn’t have been any need for military intervention or incursion into our political life.
If we are celebrating 18 years of unbroken democracy, we are only celebrating failure. What is there to celebrate? We started having democracy since October 1st 1960 when we had our independence, and it would not have been truncated if our political leaders had shown maturity and played the game the way it ought to have been played. If our political leaders had lived up to expectation, there wouldn’t have been any need for the military to have staged the coup of January 15, 1966 which led to the end of democracy in the First Republic. So if we are to celebrate at all, we should have been celebrating 56 or 57 years of unbroken democracy. But unfortunately, this has not been possible.
In your own assessment of the journey so far since 1999, will you say our political leaders have lived up to expectation especially with regards to the delivery of dividends of democracy?
The politicians have failed the nation. Our political leaders have failed Nigerians, this is the bitter truth. What has our elected public office holders done since 1999 to make one to be proud of the country called Nigeria? Our political leaders have done nothing.
God has so blessed Nigeria as a nation, only if our leaders can utilize those resources God has endowed Nigeria with , our nation would have gone far. But our leaders are very selfish. Nigerians are dying of hunger. Majority of Nigerians are dying of hunger. They are swimming in poverty amid plenty. Politicians, whether old or young have failed Nigerians. There was a time younger politicians or younger generations were saying that the older generation had failed Nigerians. But what has the younger generation done or achieved?
The younger generation has stolen more money than the older ones. It has been 18 years of waste for Nigeria. We are not where we are supposed to be as a nation. But thank God Buhari came into office. I pray that Nigerians will co-operate with him to enable him carry out his programmes aimed at sanitizing this nation. I pray that God will give Buhari good health to do the work. I hope we are going to give Buhari the chance to redeem Nigeria. If Buhari had not been elected in 2015, Nigeria would have been in chaos, Nigeria would have been in serious mess.
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is doing very well, but of course, he is the Vice-President, and even as an Acting President, there is an extent to which he can go. This is why we all have to pray for Buhari’s quick recovery.
Before Buhari won that election, corruption had almost destroyed Nigeria. You can see how looters are being arrested now. That never happened until Buhari assumed office. For God’s sake, what does an individual want to do with one billion naira? But look at all those looters that are being exposed, how they stole billions of naira belonging to the nation. It is very sad, very sad. If Buhari had not been elected into office, and corruption has remained unchecked, this nation would have been destroyed. But God is merciful, and that’s why I believe that Buhari’s winning that election was a form of divine intervention for Nigeria.
From your comments, are you saying that President Buhari can still salvage the situation for Nigeria if given the chance?
If the hawks around him give him the chance to work, surely, Buhari will deliver. You know there is a lot of difference between a military regime, and a civilian regime. Buhari the military leader can’t function the same way as Buhari the civilian leader.
In a democratic dispensation, there are many things a leader will want to do but he will be constrained by other factors. As a civilian leader, it is not possible to have your ways at times. There are lots of forces you have to contend with including the legislature.
But if Buhari can continue the way he has started without allowing people to use politics to derail him, Nigeria would be better for it. Where I have my reservations about Buhari’s anti-corruption war is its being selective. I’m not being sentimental but saying the truth. I believe what is good for the sauce should also be good for the gander.
It appears as if Nigerians are being terrorized by Buhari’s anti-corruption war, and that’s why some politicians are jumping from PDP to APC because they believe that when they jump to APC, that nothing would happen to them again. But this should not be the essence of the anti-corruption war. The anti-corruption war should be to redeem Nigeria and not to protect some people or to protect members of the ruling APC. Anybody that has done any wrong should not only be probed but must also be brought to justice regardless of that individual’s political affiliation.
However, like I said earlier, if Nigerians would give Buhari a chance and Buhari himself would be honest with Nigerians, then there should be no sacred cow in the anti-corruption war. Anybody found to be involved in looting our commonwealth and the nation’s resources should be brought to book no matter how highly the person may be. Nigerians should give Buhari the co-operation and support he needed to enable him to prosecute the anti-corruption war successfully. There are many things wrong with us as a country, and this is why we must support Buhari’s anti-corruption war. For instance, how can you have some Nigerians being richer than the country? Where do they get the money? What is the source of their wealth? It is very unfortunate that in this country, Nigerians don’t ask questions. They don’t demand for accountability from their leaders. But one thing is this, Buhari can’t fight the anti-corruption war alone, he needs our support to succeed. He has started something good; we should all support him to tackle the rot in our politics, especially corruption.
Some Nigerians have canvassed a review of our political system arguing that under the current political dispensation, the cost of governance is on the high side. What is your take on this?
I agree that the presidential system, which we run is very expensive. But I think the time has come when we in this country should fashion out our own system, that is a political system that is more suitable to our own environment.
We have a tendency to copy hook, line and sinker whatever we copy from other climes but, this is not good. We need to fashion out a system that will serve our interests much better. We should be able to do something that is original to us, and which will not be too expensive.
Are you still in PDP because it seems you have been quiet for a while and have not been active in the party’s activities?
We started PDP together in 1998, and I believe in PDP but they have messed up the party especially from 2012. The PDP we started in 1998 is not the PDP of today, and that was why the party lost the general election of 2015 but ordinarily if PDP were to be PDP of the original hue, the party would not have lost.
Where you don’t respect internal party democracy, other smaller things would now start taking roots and those things will gradually create damages that will cause bigger destruction, that is exactly what happened to PDP.
I believe that God has a purpose for what happened during the 2015 general election for Nigeria. God has a purpose for bringing Buhari on board that time. I don’t know what could have happened in 2015 if PDP had won that election and Jonathan had remained as president given the level of rot, of corruption and the poor state of the nation’s economy under Jonathan’s watch. The situation would have become worst for Nigeria. Thank God for that divine intervention that saw Buhari winning that election.
On the current crisis in PDP, what is the way out?
It is very unfortunate ,but let’s wait for the Supreme Court verdict Some people who claim that APC has not lived up to expectation have come up with the idea of forming a mega party with the intention of wresting power from the party in 2019, what is your opinion on that?
That’s the problem we have in this country, why mega party? I don’t think that’s what we need now. What we need now is serious minded people who will come together with a determination to rescue Nigeria from corruption and this is why Buhari needs our support. With all that Buhari is doing on the war against corruption, do you know that some people are still bent on securing or getting political power at all cost, and they are doing so not with the aim of serving but with the sole purpose of looting the treasury. I believe that this would not have been so if Buhari’s war against corruption has been biting.
Buhari’s war against corruption has only been barking and not biting. If Buhari’s anti-corruption war has been biting, how many convictions have we had?
How many people have been jailed? We only hear of recovered loots but how many looters have been jailed? Hearing looters after recovering loot from them will not stop corruption. Looters must be sanctioned. The full wrath of the law must be brought down on them to serve as deterrent to others. I hope we get it right in this country very soon because if we fail to get it right the outcome will be terrible. It will be disastrous for us. Returning stolen loot is not enough, looters must be punished.
On the issue of restructuring , where do you stand, should we restructure or not?
I don’t see anything wrong with restructuring. But what only arises is this, who are the people who will implement this restructuring? When you restructure, you are still talking about the people.
For instance, for those who are agitating that they want to form their own country, be it agitators for independent state of Biafra or Republic of Niger-Delta, let them go ahead, and let’s see what will eventually happen. Are these agitators not Nigerians? After forming their own separate republic, they will now descend on themselves and start fighting one another. They will fight themselves to the point of destruction. The problem is with Nigerians, and not the system. They are running the presidential system of government which we are running here in the United States of America, and it is working perfectly there, but here we practice the same presidential system of government, it is not working. There has been complaints, and that’s to tell you that the problem is not with the system but with the people. If we have the right type of people to run the system, the system will work. But if you don’t have the right type of people then the system will not work
How can we douse the tension currently being generated in the polity as a result of the October 1st ultimatum issued to Igbo living in Northern part of the country to vacate the region by a coalition of Arewa Youths?
It is very unfortunate that we are still at this stage of our development. Why do you want to give anybody quit notice? Based on what? But I believe strongly that there are some people behind all these. The federal government should be vigilant. There are some people who feed fat when there is confusion. We must not forget one thing; this corruption that is being fought by the present government is fighting back. Those corrupt elements that are being fought who know that their days are numbered are fighting back, and they know that in this war against corruption they can’t escape.
All these quit notice and agitations here and there are meant to create confusion. It is corruption fighting back. But my fear for Nigeria is this, if there is any crisis, it is going to bring a lot of bloodshed. Go and write it down now, if Nigeria survives till 2019, the election that will come up or take place in 2019 will be very bloody.
Is this a prophecy or prediction, or you came to this conclusion by analysis?
You can call it a prophesy, but it will surely come to pass unless we really pray and fast to avert it. When some people agitate for anything, it is mainly for selfish reasons. I will rather be a Nigerian one million times rather than being a citizen of Oduduwa Republic. It is unfortunate that we don’t know the strength of belonging to a country like Nigeria with our population.
Breaking up is going to make us weak. I would rather belong to Nigeria rather than being a citizen of a smaller nation. God loves Nigeria and I believe that God has a divine purpose for this nation. Break up is not the answer to any disagreement we may have with one another. We should revert to dialogue because staying together as one nation has enormous advantages.
As an elder in the church, how do you blend that position with being a politician who eventually worked closely with late General Sani Abacha as a Minister?
History is going to judge everything that happened in this country. Whether people want to believe it or not, Abacha was a great leader. Abacha’s case was the way it was because he died in office. Let them go and check Abacha’s records. He did more for Nigeria than some of the living past presidents of Nigeria. History will surely vindicate Abacha.
It was those fellows killing people all over the place that gave Abacha bad name. Some people have asked me, ‘why didn’t Abacha stop those killing people that during his regime?’ But what these people don’t know is that if these killers don’t tell Abacha what they wanted to go and do, how will Abacha stop them, and when it happened, how do you know who actually did it?
But like I said earlier, Abacha was such a beautiful man. He did not commit many of those atrocities linked to him. Those of us that are very close to Abacha knew the kind of person he was. He was such a nice fellow, and he loved Nigeria. He did his best for Nigeria. Throughout the time Abacha was in power, he didn’t borrow or took any foreign loan even when sanctions were imposed on his regime. He was a wonderful leader who had sound managerial acumen.
Nigerians have been very unfair to Abacha. When some people accussed Abacha of stealing Nigeria’s money, I felt sorry for those Nigerians who say so, are they saying that, or who will tell me that none of the living past presidents of Nigeria is corrupt, or that none of them has stolen Nigeria’s money, but who has touched them? It is because Abacha is dead that people are saying all manner of things about him.
Even wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience talk of her money. She was saying my money, my money, how did she come about that money? How did she come about having $15 million? What type of work did she do that fetched her such money?
It’s very sad that in this country we don’t hold our leaders accountable, and that is why there has been no transparency in governance in Nigeria.
On the issue of detention and subsequent death of Chief M.K.O Abiola, there has been a lot of debates and controversies over Abacha’s role .…..
Cuts in ….The issue of Abiola’s death will continue to be subject of debate for a long time to come. But who actually killed Abiola? It was NADECO people that killed him. They killed Abiola by insisting that he should not accept the conditional bail Abacha offered him. It was those who advised Abiola not to accept that bail that actually killed him. Based on the intervention by some of us, Abacha was ready to give Abiola conditional bail. A plane had been made available to fly Abiola out of Abuja but NADECO people said Abiola should not take the bail.
Five of us who were Ministers in Abacha’s cabinet were involved in the arrangement to have Abiola granted bail. Late Alex Ibru who was then Internal Affairs Minister, myself, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Chief Olu Onagoruwa and Chief [Mrs] Bolaji Osomo went to meet Abacha and discussed the issue with him, and Abacha agreed to give Abiola bail but NADECO people insisted he should not accept the bail.
There are some things that happened that time which I won’t like to talk about now but which, I will put down in my memoir and Nigerians will have the opportunity to read about them. Nigeria has been ungrateful, very ungrateful to Abacha. They are vilifying Abacha because he died in office.
Abacha was Nigeria’s best president. Abacha would have turned Nigeria into a paradise, he would have turned Nigeria into a masterpiece if he had not died in office. He was the best president Nigeria ever had. He was a patriot, a hero that is not being appreciated by the same people he served diligently.
WE WANT BIAFRA, NOT WAR –NNAMDI KANU
•Attacks Tinubu, Soyinka, Uwazuruike
Just two days after he arrived his father’s palace at Afara Ukwu, Umuahia, this reporter went to meet the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. On seeing him, like any other hungry-for-news journalist, this reporter demanded an instant interview, which was politely refused, but with a firm promise to speak at a later date. “My brother I can’t grant you interview now but whenever I decide to talk to the press, definitely The Sun will be the first newspaper and you will be the one I will talk to”, the IPOB leader said then.
Having given him enough time to rest, an appointment was secured for Saturday, June 24, 2017 for the interview. “You have to be at my father’s palace at 11.30am for the interview”, said Nnamdi Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu who had remained an intermediary within this period.
The reporter arrived the palace by few minutes past 12noon into the waiting hands of some stern-looking young men who he later came to know were volunteers who had been regular at the palace since their leader came back, to provide security to the IPOB boss, albeit with bare hands.
After inquiring one’s mission, one of the volunteers frisked the reporter before allowing him into the palace where he was told that the IPOB leader was not around and from the way they spoke, he went to Enugu. His father HRH (Eze) Isaac Okwu Kanu confirmed his son’s unavailability and immediately put a call across to him that The Sun reporter was around. From the other end, there was a reassuring response; “Please we are coming back, tell him not to go.”
At about 3pm, the hitherto firmly locked gates to the palace were flung open to allow an unmarked SUV in and lo it was carrying Nnamdi Kanu. After exchanging pleasantries with his parents and the few people around, he took the reporter straight to his own apartment and the interview, which lasted about one hour, 30 minutes began. He spoke to OKEY SAMPSON on many issues bordering on the Biafra agitation, why he parted ways with the founder of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, his stint in the murky waters of Nigerian politics and why he suddenly changed.
It was learnt that at a point, you were the chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in London, why did you suddenly change?
Yes, of course, I was the APGA chairman in Europe and in America and by then as an African, I believe we are one. But the reality on ground made me to change, if that answers your question. The people you want to love don’t love you, they will wake up and kill you. One day, you will wake and tell me that Osama bin Laden was shot dead in Pakistan and because of that, you will kill Igbo people trading in Kano and you are telling me I shouldn’t change my mind? I’m asking you. You live in a country where you are not allowed to aspire to a particular position because of where you come from and they want me to accept that? You’ve forgotten, former President Umaru Musa Yar’Ádua is from Katsina and President Muhammadu Buhari is from the same Kastina State, if not that they are from the North, do you think they will allow two people from the same state to vie for the presidency within such a short period? It’s not possible. But that tells you what happens in Nigeria.
Some of your members have been killed in the course of this agitation, what in concrete terms have you done to ensure that these people get justice?
What we can do, we do, we take care of their families. Outside that, we have taken those who killed them to court, we’ve been to international criminal court in The Hague, our case is there. Britain is the one suppressing it. Britain and the former President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama are at the forefront of suppressing our case at the ICC.
I’m a bit surprised you are saying this, as a British citizen, why should they turn around to suppress your case, of this magnitude?
Even in Britain, there are people who don’t support evil. Britain is supporting Nigeria because they are afraid of Biafra for whatever reason best known to them. We don’t know, I have been asking them, why are you terrified of Biafra, what is it about Biafra that frightens the British Government. There must be something, so, that is why I keep pushing them and until they tell me what that thing is, there is something about Biafra that frightens everybody, I want Britain to tell me.
Is it right to say that Nnamdi Kanu is misunderstood by the Nigerian nation?
Yes, people in Nigeria claim or they pretend or do I say they deliberately equate self-determination with war. They know self determination is not war, they know that very well, they prefer to conjure it up to say self determination is war, to frighten people away from following what I’m saying, from following what IPOB is all about. That is not journalism, that is not how you educate the populace, that is intellectual fraud. You know that asking for a referendum is not hate speech, they know very well, everybody knows that. If you go to the dictionary, you know the meaning of the word, referendum. Why then are you pretending that someone asking for a referendum amounts to hate speech, where did that come from? No wonder there is no light in Nigeria, no wonder there are bad roads everywhere, they cannot even create employment for people, they cannot do that because all those who are talking doom, the Junaid Mohammads of this world, they have nothing in their brain, they are empty. If you want to stop Nnamdi Kanu from agitating for Biafra, you defeat me in a debate with superior argument and reason, logic. I am a learned man, I submit to superior argument and reason. Not by using empty threats that may have worked with other people, but it wouldn’t work with me. It has worked with others, but it wouldn’t work with me.
People go about pretending and arrogating to themselves interpretations of existing universal laws and values that everyone is aware of, they twist it upside down to suit their own selfish purpose. Instead of them to say ‘oh we cannot survive without oil, oil is our problem, we need that which is discovered from Biafra land’, they will be twisting facts. And before they say Niger Delta, there is oil in Anambra, Imo and Abia in commercial quantity, being exploited, sold abroad. I just travelled from Enugu to Umuahia, the road is as terrible as anything you can think of and you are telling me that I should be comfortable with that? Then I ask for my freedom to allow me to build my road, to allow me to build hospitals, to build schools, I know the type of schools we want to build, not the nonsense you have in Nigeria, not the useless, non working hospitals you have in Nigeria, I know what I want to do.
Recently, Arewa youths gave the Igbo in the North up till October 1 to leave, how do you see that?
Yes I support it, they should come back and then we need a date for referendum. If you push somebody, you must show him where to land, so, there is no need ‘oh, you have to go’, first of all, go and get us a referendum date from (Acting President Prof Yemi) Osinbajo, then come back to us, let the date be agreed upon, which is what we are asking for incidentally and then you will see whether they will still remain in the North or not.
Are you now saying the Igbo in the North should not come back until the referendum date is given?
No, it’s entirely up to them, they’re reasonable people, they know what to do. My wish is for them to come back, I want them to come back because their property is more secure under international law if Biafra is an independent state than when you are in Nigeria. As a Nigerian, your property is at risk because if you are outside your father’s compound or your ancestral home, your Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) can be recalled at any time, laws could be introduced to change or alter them if you are not there. So, when Biafra is fighting for your property outside Biafra land, you stand a better chance of regaining everything than if you are within Nigeria.
Arewa youths said they gave the ultimatum because of the May 30 sit-at-home order you gave which was fully complied with. How do you react to this?
It’s because of their lack of understanding, I suggest they go back to school and understand how political processes work in a democracy. That is the problem with Nigerian people, they think by reading and writing, that is ability to write ABCD to Z, that makes you an intelligent person, no, you are not. What is IPOB asking for? Did I forcibly keep people at home on May 30? You have that right to associate or to de-associate from people, you have the right. What we are employing is very simple civil disobedience to register our displeasure, disappointment and dejection I should say with the Nigerian state. We are asking for Biafra, it’s not a crime to do that. Scotland is asking to leave Britain, Britain just left Europe, I hope they are aware of that. The Czechs and Slovakia were together, but today they are no longer together, the same with North and South Korea and the world hasn’t come to and end. Why is it that when we talk about Biafra, all this nonsense keeps coming from everywhere, they want war, they want war, what war are you talking about, why must you make the name Biafra synonymous with war? Am I fighting any war? You see crowd come to see me, to greet me, you start to hyperventilate, you say it’s war, it’s war, what are you hiding? You see all the oil blocs in Biafra land owned by Northerners, exclusively Northerners, it shouldn’t be happening, I’m not interested in oil, I’m not interested in anything else, all I want is Biafra. I don’t need oil, I’m praying, if Chukuokike abiama, the God we worship can come today and dry up the oil, I will be a better person, I will be happier.
Is this Biafra you are talking about the same with that Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu had in mind?
Yes and even more because now we are going with Igede-Idoma and some part of Igala. The Niger Delta you are asking about are already with us, they were here few days ago, they are more Biafra than I am. Of course, Frank Obigor is from Kalabari, so, he stood up on May 27, 1967 to say ‘our name is Biafra.’ So, can you turn around and say they are not Biafrans?
But someone like Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State will always say they are not Biafrans, how do you place this?
Gov Wike I must tell you is suffering from ‘not under my tenure syndrome’, because somebody is somewhere, they are milking the state, they are controlling a very huge allocation in budgetary allocation, they think ‘oh why are you doing this Biafra thing under my tenure, wait let me finish’, that’s their problem. The same thing happened to (Senator Bola Ahmed) Tinubu and all these people you see now in APC. I remember then in NADECO days, we were in London holding meetings (I’m not a member of NADECO), we had a group of people holding meetings in London, thinking on how to make things better – democracy and the rest of it. All these people you are now seeing in APC, opposed to restructuring now were the same people that said they will not vote unless there is a sovereign national conference to rewrite (former head of state, General) Abdulsalami Abubakar’s 1999 Constitution. The same Tinubu, the same (Professor) Wole Soyinka, these were the proponents, these were agitators for sovereign national conference, all of a sudden, they’ve changed. They changed because they’ve got power and money is getting into their hands, so, why change Fashola, why are you going to change because there is money coming in, why do you have to change? That was what Sha Gavara said about black man, a black African man, they are not disciplined enough to put the need of the collective survival of the people over and above their own selfish interest. That’s the difference between them and us; that’s the difference between Caucasians and black African people where people can abandon every other need and every other concern that they have and focus purely and exclusively on the need of the collective. That’s why a soldier can go to war and decide to die for his or her country; a soldier going to war is putting the need of the country over and above his own personal interest. These politicians get into power, they say ‘oh not under my tenure’, but when they were outside, they campaigned for that thing. That inconsistency is what worries me and that is why black Africa is in a mess, people are not consistent.
Some people say agitation for Biafra amounts to divisiveness, do you agree with that?
When people come to pontificate about oneness and unity of Nigeria, they are talking rubbish, nonsense. It was an Igbo man that made the existence of Nigeria possible and the Igbo built Nigeria. But over the years and time, envy, jealousy and hatred came in. When it suits them, it is an Igbo agenda, Igbo domination, but when it doesn’t suit them, they change. Where is (Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu from? From Okpanam, Delta State, Niger Delta, South South. But when they want to describe the January, 1966 coup, they say it’s an Igbo coup to justify the killing of our people in the North. They keep twisting things and people placidly just sit down and accept it. And I’m saying no, it’s a distortion of history, it can’t happen. They can lie all they like, they can’t deceive us all the time; some of the people, some of the time, yes, not all the people all the time, it’s not possible; you can’t continue to deceive us. Now, how can you say that Delta State is Igbo so that we know that you are genuine? When it comes to actually explaining out your very narrative for the coup that was carried out, you say it is an Igbo coup because his name is Chukwuma Nzeogwu, it is an Igbo coup. Then when it comes to resource, stealing our resources from Biafra land, you say ‘oh they are Delta or South South, they are not Igbo.’ What utter garbage is that, people put up with that nonsense, but I won’t, Nnamdi Kanu, I won’t put up with it. Tell those of them in the North that truth is a more potent weapon than bullet and mortars. We don’t need guns and bullets, simple truth.
What’s the possibility of achieving Biafra without guns and bullets?
Were there guns and bullets in Czechoslovakia, are they fighting in Britain where the Scots want their own state? Did they fight in India and South Africa? We live in a world of democracy; Nigeria domesticated the Africa Charter on people and human rights, domesticated into local law. They say they go to school, but they don’t know anything. Sometimes even the lawyers and the Judges I am sorry for them. What it means in simple terms in international law is once you adopt a treaty outside that is in conflict with any aspect of your constitution, that treaty takes precedence over it, that’s the meaning of it. This is so because it is binding on more countries than your own. You no longer latch on to the self position of sovereignty, it no longer works.
It appears there is no unity of purpose in this struggle; when you were on one side and the founder of MASSOB/BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike on the other side, on the May 30 order. What’s your reaction?
Who did the people obey? Our people’s reaction has gone a long way to tell you that Uwazuruike is no more relevant, it shows irrelevance. People will try to sabotage what we are doing because there are some people fathered by foreigners in our midst, let me put it that way.
Your family said severally that Chief Ralph Uwazuruike attempted to kill you, can you shed more light on that allegation?
Uwazuruike or whoever they are, they are not capable of killing me. If I die in this very process, there will be so much death and destruction that people will believe that God never made heavens and earth. The rest about this will be in the book I am going to write.
Uwazuruike’s associates accused you of hijacking Radio Biafra, which they alleged was established by the MASSOB founder. What’s your reaction?
Hijacking what? People talk so much nonsense, which is untrue. And black people, they love lying; black people love lying and they are more comfortable with lies than the truth. The truth is that Uwazuruike came to London to see me on my invitation and we established Radio Biafra. I wasn’t meant to be a presenter of that Radio station, but the person we appointed as a presenter was being difficult so to speak, he was trying to extract a pound of flesh from us. He resorted to blackmail, so, we sat as a Board and removed him. They said I should try and I tried, that was how I started. MASSOB, not Uwazuruike funded Radio Biafra for only three months, I funded the rest of the six months, and the papers are there. I took Uwazuruike to VT Communications, the carriers of our signals then, for face to face meeting. I asked the company for help, they said there was no more help coming. Uwazuruike said MASSOB will no longer fund Radio Biafra because we were becoming so powerful; the politicians asked him to stop funding it. I called him over the phone and asked him, I said ‘what is happening, did I do anything wrong, why are you no longer funding us?’, he said no, we should do whatever we can to fund it. I struggled for three months, I couldn’t sustain it, and it folded up. Then 2012, having worked for very many years, I saved up enough money to go and start Radio Biafra again with my colleagues, Uche Mefor, especially, that’s what happened. I started and registered Radio Biafra in 2012; myself after the one MASSOB established folded up due to lack of funding. Now, this man (Uwazuruike) wants to take the glory that he found Radio Biafra and people who are too lazy to research and investigate, they swallow it hook, line and sinker and that’s entirely up to them. The facts are there and they speak for themselves.
Uwazuruike has come to claim he established Radio Biafra, the one he allowed to fold up because he has now realized that the one I established in 2012 has become a global phenomenon, everyone in the world knows Radio Biafra, they want to associate themselves with Radio Biafra, so, he wants to milk the credit from Radio Biafra that he told MASSOB not to fund. In 2009, I even went on air to establish a bank account and asking people to try and support, nothing came.
Let me tell you something, Uwazuruike has collapsed, isn’t he, is Uwazuruike not gone? He has finished himself by going to beg for his freedom. For him to have gone to Major Hamza Al-Mustahpa shows he is a coward, pure cowardice, cowardice of the very worst order, cowardice and stupidity, a sell out, a disgrace to the concept of freedom fighting.
You were an ardent follower of Uwazuruike, why and when did you fall out with him?
No, no, no, I never followed him (Uwazuruike), I wasn’t following him, I was in MASSOB, following Biafra. I fell apart with Uwazuruike because he is not interested in the agitation. I fell out with him in the same 2009 when I got information that politicians told him to stop funding Radio Biafra. I asked him, he denied it, but it was true. I knew all the things he was doing, building hotels, owning properties, living very ostentatious and lavish lifestyle, which is inconsistent with the tenets of the struggle. I told him to give away those properties to orphans and focus on the struggle for the restoration of Biafra because as a freedom fighter, your gain should be in what you are pursuing, nothing before.
Could that be the reason he ordered for your arrest in 2009?
He did not arrest but kidnapped me in 2009, it is the same thing that some elements of Hausa-Fulani are doing right now, using threat, imprisonment, let’s imprison him, let’s lock him up, it will stop; it’s too late. I laid my plans down two years ago, so, I’m prepared for prison.
If for instance the Igbo are given the presidency in 2019 or the country is restructured before then, will you give up the agitation?
If you make my beloveth wife, Uchechi Okwu Kanu, the first female president of the United States of America, I’m not talking about here, it still would not change my position. I’m not for restructuring, I am for total separation from Nigeria, Biafra must be free, must be free. I want people to understand it, I don’t mince my words, must be free. Before the white man came, were we not free?
Assuming that you are asked to become the president of Nigeria today, will that mean bye to the Biafra struggle?
USA is a better country than Nigeria, do you agree with me? If I’m made the president of America or better still given the whole world and I own things in every part of the planet, I will not trade Biafra for it. Understand this, absolutely nothing will make me to stop wanting Biafra, it is impossible, it is unthinkable, nothing.
Are you among those that believe Biafrans are Jews?
I don’t believe, I know it to be true, it is not a question of belief. You know what is Eke? Do you know why Eke Day is special? Eke is the day reserved for Chineke (God). Some people see it as market day, but that is how we count our calendar. A white man trades everyday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so, they have five market days because on Saturdays and Sundays, they rest. Now, you were circumcised when you were eight days old, the only other people that do the same thing is Israel. Why, is it a coincidence? We are the only people that answer a name that revers God out of every other race on this earth. Like for instance, the name of Jesus Christ, which is Yahweh Hesuwa, which means Chukwuzoba. We answer Chizoba here from time to time just like Nnamdi, which means my Redeemer Liveth. All these things are there for the whole world to go and see. I suggest you go and read Remy Ilonna’s book, it’s there. If you go to Aguleri in Anambra State, this Jewish overall garment I’m putting on is what they have been wearing for thousands of years. If people see me wearing it, they will say it’s Jewish, but they’ve been wearing it over the time. Of course, I will go to Aguleri to pray sometime next week.
There is this allegation by some people that you have sold out to politicians, perhaps having in mind those that took you on bail, is that true?
Which politician are they talking about? You and I know the people that can say that, because they sold out they think every other person will be like them. You know, that’s the thing with black people, because they are thieves and they think every other person is a thief. Because you cannot do anything, they shout ‘oh, it’s undoable’ because they tried and failed. They think we are like them, we are not like them, I’m Nnamdi Kanu.
What’s your vision about the Biafra you are agitating for?
In a nutshell, the police will not carry any gun in Biafra land, the police will be restricted. We are going to have ethnic-based nations, not states and then we can carve it inside as we like. Igbo land will have a parliament making laws in Igbo language so that you won’t cheat me. You know it’s all these too much grammar that brings in cheating. Itsekiri will have their own parliament; Ikwerre will have their own parliament even Isoko as small as they are will have their own parliament. Unless they vote to say we are part of a wider Igbo, then we accept them, we don’t want to force anybody. Anioma which is Igbanke to Ahaba which the white man called Asaba, Ahaba is the name; they will have their own parliament. If Anioma decides to say no, we are Igbo, this nonsense is too much, they can vote to merge with the Igbo parliament which capital will be in Enugu. But every other person, Ibibio, Anang, Efik, Ogoja which is Ejagha area, you will have your own nation state like the Greece in those days; every nation will be answerable to themselves.
They are going to be states of their own within a super state which is Biafra. We are going to do this to ensure maximum freedom for all. By this arrangement, anything you stand on in your father’s land belongs to you; it will not belong to anybody else. There will be 100 percent resources control. Those areas that don’t have oil or gas, people there should be able to manufacture computers and cars so that we can sell the oil and buy computers from them. Everybody will be useful, it’s not Nigeria where some people like Junaid Mohammad just stay and you wake up in the morning, all you want is oil money and when we say we want to be free, your greed for what belongs to another won’t let you see what they are saying. The reason why they cannot see eye to eye with me and what IPOB represents is that all they see is that ‘oh this Biafra will deny us access to our oil wells, all our petro-dollar will go missing’, that’s all they see. They don’t want to see what you are actually pursuing and how you intend to arrive at where you are going. If they spend some time, thinking of IPOB, where we are going, what we stand for, they will find out that what we are asking for is exactly what they want and what they need.
What’s your impression about the Nigerian judiciary?
There are good judges, conscientious, good judges, you know I shouldn’t comment on my case, but there are good and conscientious Judges, very brave, very upright, some of them from the North, very, very brave.
What advice do you have for Biafrans?
Resolute, remain resolute regardless of the circumstances or situation, we will keep matching forward. They can kill all of us, as long as there is one man and one woman left in a free Biafra, they can bear a new generation of Biafrans, but we are unstoppable.
Looters funding separatist agitations, says Magu
From James Ojo, Abuja
The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has identified corruption as the root cause of the separatist agitations and militancy threatening the unity of the country.
Magu, according to a statement by the commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwajaren, declared this at the flagging off a two-day Electronic and Social Media Review and Training Summit held at the Old Auditorium, EFCC Academy, Karu, Abuja.
He, however, said the unity of the country could not be compromised and urged the participants to help in sensitising the public on the ills of corruption, adding that, if the country was free of corruption, people would not be engaging in needless agitations.
His words: “We can change the perception of this country. I urge you all to be committed in this fight using your various platforms. The root cause of the hate speeches by the Arewa and Igbo youths is corruption. Some people are actually funding them.
“The looters of our common wealth are the ones responsible for the woes bedeviling Nigeria. We must do everything possible to secure the unity of this country. People who don’t deserve anything are taking everything and if there is no common consensus to halt the trend, the future of our children yet unborn would be mortgaged”.
The summit, an initiative of the Public Affairs Directorate of the EFCC, is the first social and electronic media programmes review by the agency. The initiative is part of the commission’s efforts to enhance its communication strategies and channels used in engaging members of the public in the fight against corruption.
The EFCC boss urged all the participants to take a critical look at the social media platforms of EFCC and come out with suggestions on how to make them better.