“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu
My brother Nnamdi, we thank God for your freedom even as we note that the wrongs that led to your incarceration are yet to be removed, instead it’s even getting worse as your people’s tormentors are still remorseless and inexorable.
This memo therefore is another way of appreciating you for the huge sacrifice and to proffer some way forward to help you to possibly achieve your ultimate desire of having a Republic of Biafra out of Nigeria. First, I want you to have it noted in your mind that the race is not a 100-meter dash, but a long distance one that requires all the tacts and endurance to finish well.
As a political journalist of over three decades I have not come across you and so are many others because your name never rang any bell until late. Till last year you were probably only known in your small village of Isiama in Abia State.
Only during your incarceration did people realise that you are even a Prince, your father being the traditional ruler of your town. But today you are a household name not just in Biafra land and Nigeria but all over the media space even beyond Nigeria. For inadvertently sprouting yourself into this limelight credit goes to President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari who declared you enemy and kept you away. But the essence of this memo is to help ensure that you manage this fame well so that the gains therein are not shattered on missteps and slipups.
When you got the calling to start this Biafra project you may never have envisaged the scope but by now you should have realised that the Nnamdi Kanu that established Biafra Radio about two years ago is not the same as the one that came out of Kuje Prison few weeks ago.
Prison is not just a detention camp but a school, and a special church where many have after sojourn turned prayer warriors and end up becoming an authority in the holy book depending on which religion they belong. We hear that you embraced Judaism in Prison hence the decision of Justice Binta Nyako to include in your bail conditions a Judaism worshipper ostensibly thinking that it would be difficult to get.
Nobody goes to prison and remains the same there after especially freedom fighters like you. Either your spirit is broken and you chicken out of the struggle or you are strengthened and are fired up. From all indications, yours is the later and understandably so because history is a witness that nobody fights for justice and turns back without result, either you are celebrating victory like Nelson Mandela or you are becoming political martyrs.
Even Mandela knew that those who survive to become President are fired up by the blood of martyrs who died in the struggle. This memo is primarily to warn you about politicians. They are group of people you must approach with your thinking cap permanently on.
As a prince who grew up in Obi Eze (King’s Palace), you must have been privy to the story of why the use of long spoon is recommended while dinning with the devil, it’s because when he comes for your hand he would only have the spoon to grab, but I tell you that for politicians even long spoon would not suffice so the best is to avoid totally any lure of dinning with them if you can.
I have watched some dancing around you by politicians claiming to identify and agree with your struggle, nothing can be farther from the truth. What you are seeing is just jostling to leverage on your current fame and once they get through, off they disappear.
Initially when you started the IPOB struggle none of them gave you any chance. Even as Biafra is in engraved in the hearts of every Igbo, they did not feel you are the right and appropriate person to bring it to this level of national and international attention.
President Buhari’s apparent snub of Ndigbo in his administration helped to build an army of distraught and disgruntled Igbo leaders. If Buhari had been tactical enough to accommodate some of them, they would not have been talking about you.
Again don’t make the mistake of thinking that your current popularity can be translated into electoral votes. Ndigbo have unique political behaviour that is very complex. In the Second Republic, the ruling defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) wanting to leverage on the popularity of the Biafra main hero Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu whom the government pardoned and brought home from exile coerced him into contesting for Senate in the old Anambra State.
Everybody predicted landslide victory for Ojukwu and NPN but a medical doctor, a former Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Edwin Onwudiwe of the defunct Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) roundly defeated him. Even with the defeat, Ojukwu’s popularity among Ndigbo remained but he could not translate it to electoral success. May be you have some lessons to pick here.
My advice to you is to try and have an intellectual arm of IPOB to up your struggle by drawing up an operating template. Biafra cannot be gotten without going through what the law says unless through a war which both Nigeria and Biafra cannot afford again.
Every step of IPOB struggle must keep in view what the law says and put pressure towards achieving that. If Federal Government is to surprise you and call for referendum on Biafra now, you would discover that you are not ready; you would be shocked to learn that most IPOB members have no voter’s card.
Some IPOB members are deceiving themselves that they would vote out politicians not supporting them but as voter’s card revalidation is currently on-going and even underaged people are being registered in some parts of the country, Ndigbo are indifferent pursuing their businesses. My thinking is that if you want to continue keeping your head on your shoulder on this Biafra project you are to avoid like a plague political parties.
Once you drag your group into partisan politics you lose the struggle.
Biafra dream is to be realised in Nigeria not in Biafra, the fight should be outside Biafra not within. Once you enter the fray of partisan politics you drag the fight back and that would be the end. If you call rally, concentrate on Biafra project, on the injustice against the people that makes the struggle inevitable.
If you enter into vote for Mr A or B or for C or D party, you would discover yourself enmeshed in partisan politics. You should position yourself in such a way that all the political parties should be identifying with you because of the risk of going against you.
If you drag yourself out in such a way that some Igbo politicians start seeing you as an obstacle to their ambition, they would want to hack you down; they would ensure that you lose your focus. Perhaps your best bet is to work closely with the Ndigbo umbrella organisation, the Ohanaeze particularly now that its leadership is displaying some purposefulness and appear courageously ready and willing to take Igbo to the next level.
Not a few believe that the Biafra dream if not now later but must be realised. Nigeria is not moving in the direction of a nation in hunt for unity and progress. That perhaps explains why it is ranked the 13th least stable country in the world on the Fragile States Index (FSI), released by the Washington DCbased think-tank, Fund for Peace. In Africa, Nigeria is in the group of Somali and Sudan.
Therefore, to properly harness the people’s strong emotions on this project, a purposeful leadership must be inaugurated. My brother as I conclude this memo, may I remind you that history is a witness that no one makes a sacrifice for a people and regrets it.
In some struggles sometimes the prize is not worth the costs but in this case every price is worth the cost. Know it as a fact that Biafra is at the heart of every reasonable Igbo person. The road to our victory therefore must be as important as victory itself. Wish you well and God bless.
Carabao Cup final: Aguero, Aubameyang in marksmen showdown
…De Bruyne, Ozil also go head-to-head
Arsenal and Man City will continue their rivalry as they battle for the Caraboa Cup on Sunday at the famous Wembley Stadium but much focus will be on the striking war between City’s Sergio Aguero and Gunners’ new recruit, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While Aguero has been one of the most prominent players in the league owing to his awesome goal-scoring record since joining the Sky Blues in 2011, Aubameyang is seen as Arsenal messiah for goal scoring.
The Citizens’ point-man seems to be well-focused for this tie such that he decided to let go a Wigan fan over an on-pitch bust-up as the Argentine claimed the supporter spat at, tried to punch and verbally abused him in the shock loss to Wigan at the DW Stadium on Monday.
Since joining from Borrusuia Dortmund just before the close of the January transfer window, Gunners faithful have found a new wave of optimism that their search for a pointman in the mold of club legend Thierry Henry is over.
The Gabonese striker showed Arsenal fans and a glimpse of what he would be bringing to the table as he scored a brilliant goal in the 5-1 whitewash of Everton some few weeks ago; although he was slightly offside from the move.
He was to be at the receiving end of a poor call exactly a week later when his goal against Tottenham was ruled offside but the replay showed he was level with the Spurs’ last defender. In recent time, Arsenal, to some extent, have been masters of Cup football as they defeated Man City and Chelsea on their way to winning of the FA Cup last season.
The win over Chelsea, whom they also defeated to win the Community Shield, was their third success in four years in the FA Cup and they will be eager to keep up their good record of late at Wembley. Another head-to-head war is expected in the midfield between Kevin De Bruyne and Mezut Ozil.
De Bruyne has been one of the most prominent players for Pep Guardiola’s team this season and the Belgian’s relentless consistency has seen him in the running for the player of the season. Apart from scoring vital goals, he also has the vision to set up the likes of Aguero and Raheem Sterling and his one-touch football is second to none.
Ozil, on his part can, also initiate moves that could break the resistance of the expensively-assembled City rear guard. And with assist specialist Henrikh Mkhitaryan roving in the midfield, if the German find his right element, his supplies to the likes of AUbameyang and Danny Welbeck may see Arsenal enjoying another bragging right of another cup success in England.
If in doubt, please quit!
A major trust of news reporting in journalism is: “if in doubt, leave out or drop the story.” In my days as a News Editor, whenever a reporter couldn’t substantiate his facts, I will drop the news item. It is a norm that conforms to the best professional practices. Integrity and truth are the hallmark of media practice but with the advent of social and online media, those valued ethics seem to have been practically jettisoned. And the consequences of such professional delinquency daily stare us in the face, regrettably though.
This same ethos applies to those planning their conjugal affairs on a sandy soil of anxiety, doubt and uncertainty. If betrothed lovers are frequently experiencing rancour, threats of breakup and relating to each other with mutual suspicion and fear, they don’t need a soothsayer or a prophet to tell them that they are not compatible. Many of those in desperate mood to remain in troubled relationships are women.
Reasons adduced for their tenacity usually centre around fear of the unknown, age, social class, low selfesteem, economic factor, religious affinity and beauty among others. Some of them prefer to go into ‘trial’ marriage and fail than let go their abusive partner.
The reckless decision they often make is to blindly walk down the aisle with partners they can’t have peace and desired happy matrimony with. A 31-year-old woman would not let go off her fiancé of two years despite her frustration and constant abuse in the relationship.
Twice she had called it quit but she reconciled on both occasions without her boyfriend showing any sign of remorse. Devising a way to end regular disputes, she moved into his apartment unannounced thinking perhaps they would understand themselves better by living together. Her boyfriend’s response was to bring another woman home for the weekend. Yet, she stayed on, weeping, begging for his love. They eventually got married and it only lasted for nine months! She packed out with seven months pregnancy when she almost lost her life due constant battering.
A young man is currently battling with high blood pressure arising from constant cases of cheating, insults, threats to quit the relationship and coping with hardline rules of his fiancée. His reason for hanging on with this woman is her beauty. He said he would rather learn to endure than let her go.
“All my friends envy me because of her beauty,” he said. More than thrice, he had caught her pant down with other men. She cheats a lot. She insults him at will and set rules for him as condition to remain in the relationship. As you read this article, they are planning to wed in a couple of months’ time. Should we then ascribe these kinds of relationship to genuine love?
If yes, then, love is truly blind! It shows love can blindfold lovers when they are engrossed in it. In most cases, the love charm usually have a vice-hold on one of the partners. When blinded in love, they usually act blighted. Consequently, the traits of such desperate, confused and helpless partners are to:
• Defend weaknesses, character flaws that would eventually shred the union.
• Get fixated and unreasonably enslaved to their partners by trying to please, satisfy, compromise and sacrifice to tag along; forgetting that once they beg or manage to go into marriage, they need to keep begging and managing to remain married for the rest of their life.
• They are afraid of the unknown. Attitudes they won’t tolerate ordinarily or naturally would become their choice just to remain in relationship.
• They accommodate those things to feel “fulfilled” among their peers even when eventual failure looms large in the horizon.
• They often ignore every counsel that is not in tandem with their sentiments, interests and expectations.
• They often learn their lessons at a time the situation is beyond remedy. They calmly live with the scars because it was their choice. There are three levels of marriage:
• Marriage contracted in fear – desperation, low self-esteem, age consideration and social class
• Marriage contracted in reluctance – family and peers pressure, abstract considerations, marrying partners not wholly convinced or satisfied with many things about.
• Marriage contracted in wilful decision – marrying one’s dream partners, desired choice, best friend, feeling satisfied, fulfilled and complementary to her life. It is advisable and wiser to avert awaited marital failure by quitting troubled relationships. As it is often said, “A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage.”
Some are currently regretting their decisions in marriage because of the choices they made. While many of them have tried frantically to make their marriages work; but alas, they couldn’t get it right not due to their own faults, but because they paired with wrong partners.
There are those who might feel heeding a counsel that is against their wish is obviously denying them the right of choice in their personal affairs. I wish to submit that counsel is not a law. There’s no compulsion in it. Counsel is a piece of advice steeped in rich experience and knowledge. My sincere prayer is that may the song: “Had I Known” not be your anthem at last. Amen.
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Tinubu’s uphill task
“You cannot influence a political party to do right if you stick to it when it does wrong” – John Bengough
When a doctor is called in to handle an ailment after the disease has eaten deep into the patients, the task of saving that life would depend only on divine intervention. It does not matter the quality of that doctor or his antecedents in handling such issues in the past.
The challenge of such doctor is analogous to the one being faced by the former Governor of Lagos State, Aswaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, who was recently appointed the arbitrator and at the same time a reconciliatory officer to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Incidentally, President Muhammadu Buhari who gave Tinubu the gigantic task cannot absolve himself from the problem. In fact, political observers believe that the problem of APC derives largely from the shortcomings of its leader, the President, due to his indifferent approach to political party matters.
Going by the analysis of experts, the style of the President in political party management has been underwhelming and clearly falls far below the required standard and this has led to the emergence of all kinds of cliques within the party. Pundits in political matters would always say that there can never be a vacuum in political space. The space President Buhari’s poor political strategy could not fill easily got occupied by pockets of chiefdom.
It is largely believed that the foundation of the myriads of APC challenges was long laid when the President at the inception of his administration told all who cared to know that he would not be interested in who emerges as the leaders of the National Assembly but when those he did not want emerged, he led the onslaught against them since June 9th 2015.
Political watchers believe that on the issue of National Assembly the hide and seek approach from the President actually helped to fertilize the crisis that eventually engulfed the ruling party.
Among those within the party who shared in the President’s obvious bitterness and anger against the leadership of the National Assembly was Tinubu who ostensibly remain embittered because his cronies in the parliament lost out in the scheme. Tinubu then literally supplied the amour with which the National Assembly particularly the Senate was and is still being tormented.
The sudden appointment of Tinubu as chief arbiter at this time is therefore curious and raises a number of questions. The appointment is trying to help observers discern the mind of the President on the situation in the party.
Could it be that the President after his review of the situation has decided to embrace one of the factions in the party at the detriment of the others? Or is it that Tinubu has been identified as the bigger problem and has to be given the task of confronting the task of removing the heap of refuge he probably helped to assembly?
For Tinubu, the view out there on his new job is similar to what happens when a party to a case is appointed to make peace, two things are likely to play out, he buries his own interest and accommodates other people’s interests for peace to reign or he stands on the point of advantage and pushes through his own agenda. Either way Tinubu decides to go it’s not going to be an easy task both for him and the party.
That is why it is very germane the verdict of the embattled Comrade APC Senator of Kaduna State, Senator Shehu Sani that APC would be finally ruined if Asiwaju Tinubu fails in his mission to bring peace in the party.
Even though Tinubu is a master in the game of politics and the intrigue therein, he would need the courage of biblical David and the Wisdom of Solomon, David’s son, to figure out an acceptable solution to the APC crisis.
Other posers waiting to be unravelled in Tinubu’s assignment is whether the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who has spent the last three years of his political life eulogizing President Buhari would be thrown out just like that as has been the wish and desire of Tinubu? Why not, you may say, election year for politicians is a time of betrayal and sacrifice especially of those whose electoral value is inconsequential. Electorally, Tinubu stands head ahead of Oyegun, and this is not in dispute.
Also, can Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State dine together politically with Comrade Senator Sani and Senator Hunkuyi whose building was even demolished during the fight?
After Governor Ibrahim Ganduje of Kano State declared publicly recently that he has parted ways forever with his former boss, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, and his Kwakwasiyya group, would Tinubu make him leak his vomit?
What of Tinubu himself, can he stand with the Senate President Bukola Saraki to say old ways have passed away for a new way to begin? Even when it’s widely believed that he contributed to the inconveniences that prevented Saraki from enjoying fully his number three position? Today if you Google Saraki the image you get is not that of a nation’s head of parliament presiding but that of a criminal suspect in the dock, can this wound be easily healed by Tinubu’s drug box?
However, there is this optimistic attitude indicating that in politics everything is possible. Believers in this optimism easily embrace Maurice Barres, the French novelist who captured the never say die spirit of politicians in his statement that “the politician is an acrobat. He keeps his balance by saying the opposite of what he does”. How sincere is Tinubu and Buhari on this reconciliatory project?
There are so many other possibilities to Tinubu’s assignment that cannot also be overlooked. It could have been a strategy of a drowning Presidency itching into general election and hoping to keep up with whoever can help at such a critical period.
It could also be the geo-political North’s own strategic response to halt the seeming unity in the Southern Nigeria, a development that could be the deadliest blow to the Northern hegemony. There couldn’t have been a better way to tie apart that dangerous geo-political romance in the South than pulling out the biggest political tree in the region and whispering into his ears, the goodies that await him. There couldn’t have been an easier way to achieve this especially as the Aswaju is not enjoying the best of relationship with the Yoruba socio-cultural and political group, the Afenifere, who has been at the forefront of this crusade. There is also the other treachery aspect indicating that Tinubu might just be playing a fifth columnist role against the system for deserting him after victory only to rush coming because the day of reckoning has arrived.
Also as a possible instigation to Asiwaju’s assignment is the scorching attack by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo on both President Buhari and his ruling party. The easiest way to contain and possibly help divert the conversation away from the huge effect of that outburst on the government and the party is cleverly to draft from the same region as Obasanjo a formidable political iroko to quell the accompanying political uprising.
It could also have been that what President Buhari did in drafting Tinubu to go and make peace in a war where he has been a top commander is just the extension of taking the people for granted. No wonder American Journalist, Franklin Adams once remarked that “there are many politicians who believe, with conviction based on experience, that you can fool all the people all of the time.”
But in reality, after President Buhari and his party rode to power cruising on the falsehood of propaganda and deceit, can they fool Nigerians again after the hellish journey since 2015?
For Tinubu, there are some landmines on his political career that he must apply all his political wizardry to manoeuvre his way in this difficult assignment. At stake is his goodwill with the people and no politicians would want to toy with it.
American businessman, Marshall Field, aptly captured it better in these words: “Goodwill is the only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.” Nigerians are watching to see how the Jagaban will writhe out of this. God help Nigeria.
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