Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has revealed his problems with Nigeria. Kanu in an IPOB community radio programme yesterday noted that as a country blessed with educated citizens, it is wrong to keep quiet while the country continues to bear the name given her by colonial masters.
Although, he said he does not hate Nigeria, but the name and circumstances that led to her existence. According to him “Nigeria was not created by a Hausa man, it wasn’t created by a Nupe man, it wasn’t created by Jukun or Kalabari man ,Nigeria was not created by an Ijaw man, not created by an Ibibio man, Nigeria was created by a white man and named by a white woman. The name Nigeria means awful, bad evil, it means Nigga which is a weird word, a slang in America ,if a white person calls a black person Nigga, they might end up in jail ,then why should I answer a name that is abhorrent before God and before man.
“Now the problem is this, why should Africans accept the name Nigeria ,it does not mean anything in Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo language ,yet we are Africans, so I see it as a relic or vestige of racism, I see Nigeria as an abomination not just before God but before man as well ,that’s why I like Thomas Sankara, he changed the name from Upper Volta that has no meaning to Burkina Faso.”
Further blaming Britain for christening Nigeria and some of her elites for not correcting it, Kanu said “I wonder why very educated Nigerians cannot see it, you have half of Yoruba land in Benin republic ,some are in Togo, for over twenty years , I have been a very vocal advocate of a Yoruba nation that will also encompass the Yorubas in Benin republic and Togo, because they are Yoruba people, wouldn’t that be wonderful, why should the white wake up from Europe and decide that some Yorubas should be Togolese ,some should be from Benin republic and some from Nigeria.
“What do you have in common with a Kanuri man ,absolutely nothing, but I can tell you have something in common with the Yoruba man in Togo, you also have something in common with Yoruba man in Benin republic, why should you see a Kanuri man as a fellow citizen in Nigeria and not a Yoruba man who lives just a stone throw from Badagry? So these are the anomalies Africans need to sit down and address ,that is why we have arrested development, that is why nothing seems to be working because the convergence of these diverse value systems ,from the core Arewa north, from the west and the east is making it impossible for Nigeria to function as a viable state. And that’s what we should at this point in time be able to address as educated people ,not that I hate Nigeria, I hate the name, I despise it with a passion, if you allow me I will say this, anybody who answers or addresses himself as a Nigerian is a product of neo colonialism, not something that I’m prepared to accept because Nigeria never existed until Flora Shore gave her that name, Nigeria.”
While answering question on why he travels with the Nigerian passport, the IPOB leader said “Nigeria is not my country, I was born a Biafran, my birth certificate reads Biafra and no one has ever changed that .
“The fact that in some point I was in possession of a Nigerian passport does not actually confer upon me their citizenship, I saw the Nigerian passport as a mere travel document because my birth certificate issued at the time of my birth reads Biafra. Nobody of a sane mind would condone what is happening in Nigeria, I believe that genuine attempts have been made in the past to remedy the wreck that Nigeria is today, there was a palpable unwillingness on the powers that be to do something about it .”
On why he is strongly agitating for Biafra, he said “I detest suffering and pain, I hate to see people suffer, I hate to see people in pain, the only thing that propels me towards this agitation is not borne out of hatred for anybody but a desire to test freedom in our time.”