The first time I watched the video capturing the harassment, dragging, and assaults on former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in Germany, the instinct I had was to recall the arrest of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu by the state apparatus way back in 2015.
I remember Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja had granted Kanu bail and his henchmen who had been accused of felony by the Federal Government.
Those who recall the bail conditions would remember Kanu’s fate was sealed to be out of circulation for as long as the government desired.
With three sureties each of which must be in the sum of N100m; a Judaism religious leader and serving senator, it was obvious that Justice Nyako had presented Kanu a fait accompli to resign to fate and await the next miracle, which would bail him out of his gulag.
Apart from those who hid their faces behind the curtains but donated funds to ensure Kanu was out of jail, two Nigerians stood out as Kanu’s greatest benefactors. Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe and the Senate Deputy President definitely staked all they had to ensure freedom for a man some perceive to be fighting for the interests of the people of the South-East of Nigeria.
While Senator Abaribe came under heavy pressure to produce Kanu after his audacious breaking of all bail terms, the event in Germany two days ago further exposes the confusion that IPOB represents as against the erroneous impression of the organization as one fighting the interests of the Igbo people within the Nigerian federation.
Ekweremadu, in the midst of the odds of political scavengers that litter the political landscape especially in the South-East, still stands out as one of the finest of the contemporary political figures that most Igbo elite and the poor would gravitate towards. A closer look at his politics shows some love for Nigeria as a federation, which you cannot dismiss and the love for his ancestral home of Igbos which he cannot sacrifice. Even in the face of serious intransigence hallmarking the politics of some figures from that part of the country, one would see Ekweremadu as a man oscillating between very dangerous balancing acts. He wants to be good to Nigeria, his country. He wants to be good among his people, the Igbos.
But then, Ekweremadu’s fate is a direct message to political leaders as well to scrutinize the real intentions of self-proclaimed champions of their people. The Nigerian federation is most certainly littered with self-serving characters who plug into ill-defined agitations for which they find easy and willing recruits from the army of unemployed and unemployable youths who are finding ‘works’ for their idle hands.
While Kanu enjoyed the glamour, the headlines, and even the worships, he certainly knew deep in his mind he was merely catching in on an emotional loophole which the failure to structure the Nigerian federation properly provides him.
However, even if the Nigerian federation is wobbling, convoluted as it is, it is not characters such as Kanu that are required to straighten the bends in our polity.
If the Igbo nation is in search of leaders, that part of Nigeria has certainly produced eminent personalities in various fields who have done Nigeria proud on global scales than some misguided and misdirected persons such as Kanu. It is time such personalities rose up to be the true faces of their people and beat charlatans to the backgrounds.
I am happy that opinions are unanimous that the ill-treatment Ekweremadu was made to go through in the hands of his own brothers is not only barbaric, it serves as an eye-opener to other political leaders, not only in the South-East, that there should be limits to how far they should stretch in order to pander to the wants of some ethnic bigots.
Kanu landed Abaribe in serious trouble for standing as a surety for his freedom. Wit the benefit of the insights now, it is clear that Ekweremadu’s own share of the chalice was a matter of time. How many other benefactors of the recalcitrant Igbo ‘freedom fighters’ are in line for roasting? It may just have signaled the need to let agents of destablisation roast in their own oven. The Ekweremadu saga says that loudly.