Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has vowed to actualise a state of Biafra, saying that not even the emergence of a Nigeria President of Igbo extraction would stop the Biafra agitation and eventual restoration.
The group’s Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Comrade Emma Powerful, in this interview with Sunday Sun also disclosed that IPOB is resolute in its quest for a referendum that would lead to the restoration of Biafra. He said that Nigeria would witness a massive boycott of the 2019 general elections if President Muhammadu Buhari emerges the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He also spoke on other issues, including the whereabouts of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Excerpts:
IPOB has been agitating for a sovereign state of Biafra, if an Igbo man emerges as Nigeria’s president, will that change the quest for this your Biafra campaign?
We have crossed the point of no return. If they like let them give an Igbo grand-mother or Ibibio woman the presidency for 10 consecutive terms, it won’t change anything. They can pave every road in Biafraland with gold, still nothing and we mean nothing, will ever alter our resolve. Our mind is made up and firmly set in stone. Whatever outcome we are confronted with after the referendum, we have to live with it. The people of Biafra will decide in a referendum, not a few compromised and dirty politicians negotiating our future away in the name of restructuring Nigeria. IPOB is not like anything Africa has ever seen before. We are uncompromising in our quest to restore Biafra and that is the only outcome acceptable to us.
How can you achieve this without your leader, Kanu?
You conveniently forgot to mention that a detachment of Nigerian Army stormed his home and killed him or took him away. When people say he is nowhere to be found, it is either they are gifted with ignorance or their faculties are not entirely intact. If the United States were to invade Nigeria and in the process storm Aso Rock to take Buhari away, would you say he is nowhere to be found? Sensible people will say, ask the US because they invaded his residence. This is not complicated philosophy but simple common sense. People should apply their thinking faculties when evaluating the impact of the full military invasion and massacre of 28 people that took place at the residence of our leader on September 14, 2017. We are a well-oiled machine that can function perfectly well with or without our mentor and leader because the blueprint he himself laid down is what we are following. Mazi Uche Mefor is our Deputy Leader and with the support of the Directorate of State (DOS) of the Indigenous People of Biafra under the able leadership of Mazi Chika Edoziem, our modus operandi remain intact as laid down by our supreme leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Our Deputy Leader and DOS oversee the day-to-day operations of our global movement in the absence of our leader. We are following the philosophy of our leader which no doubt is guiding us towards our singular goal of Biafra restoration in the not too distant future.
What do you know about the whereabouts of your leader, Nnamdi Kanu, can you convince Nigerians that IPOB leadership does not know where he is?
Our ongoing efforts to compel the Fulani government of Buhari to produce our leader are gathering momentum and will become more direct very soon. The recent Amnesty International report on the activities of Nigerian Army for the year 2017 made it clear that at least 12 people were shot dead by soldiers that invaded the home of our leader in Umuahia on the 14th of September 2017. This is a verifiable fact. We still don’t know how they came up with the figure 12 when they saw 28 bodies. Even in their legal defence, the army acknowledged going to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s home to look for him. Any right thinking society will not need further convincing that Nigerian Army is culpable in the disappearance of our leader. Short of picking up arms, anything and everything will be done by the global family of IPOB to force the Buhari regime to produce our leader sooner rather than later because they invaded his residence and killed 28 of our people who were there with him on that fateful day of 14 September 2017. Since that invasion, he has not been seen and evidence of gunshots in his bedroom indicates the army shot at him. Why is the extensive gunshot damage to his bedroom not being reported? The live footage of the invasion abounds and was widely reported at the time. It is not the duty of IPOB to convince the public; that responsibility lies with the media to publish the facts of the matter and allow the people to draw their own conclusions. It is your duty and that of every responsible media outlet to inform the world, not just those that reside in Nigeria regarding what truly transpired when the Nigerian Army invaded the home of our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu with lethal force. The most logical question to ask is: why did the army invade his home with lethal force if the purpose was not to kill him? He was out on bail preparing to go to court on October 17, 2017 with no outstanding warrant against him and the next thing we saw was Nigerian soldiers storming his home a full month before he was due in court. They killed 28 people, arrested countless others, with the whereabouts of our leader unknown. Under such circumstance, would it not be sensible to think that the army must have killed him? We don’t need to convince anybody that we are unaware of our leader’s whereabouts; all we need to do as we are doing is present the facts of the matter as they are. Any impartial observer of the treatment of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his parents will reach the inescapable conclusion that the Nigerian Army must have killed or abducted him. To suggest otherwise will mean that the army is a law unto themselves which will confirm that Nigeria is a bona fide banana republic. After all, no court of law in Nigeria gave the army the go ahead to invade his home.
Since Kanu disappeared, it appears the influence of your group has drastically been reduced in the South-East?
First of all, we must correct this misleading impression that our leader simply disappeared. He is not a ghost and although he is a super naturally gifted individual, going by his predictions, we know he is still mortal and could not have grown wings and flown when the army invaded his home and attacked him in his bedroom. Secondly, anybody peddling the myth that IPOB influence has waned is only doing so to impress his or her paymasters in Aso Rock. The name IPOB has become a lucrative source of income for idle minds and government informants in Ohanaeze Ndigbo looking for money and South-east governors seeking re-election. Every man, woman and child across South-east and South-south is IPOB. So rather than diminishing, our influence is growing daily from strength to strength. We are still holding rallies all over our towns and villages, but we remain conscious of the fact that nobody can command media attention and large following the way our leader does, so it is impossible to replicate the large crowds that turn out to welcome him on his tours. If you are expecting millions to march on the streets on a daily basis when we evangelize then you will be disappointed because we have different approaches and strategies. In the run up to our referendum this year, the world will witness something totally unexpected and unique. It must be stated that Operation Python Dance II was initiated by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo and the South-east governors to diminish the rising popularity of Nnamdi Kanu. It was borne out of greed, envy and jealousy and nothing more. The only thing they accomplished was to finally expose themselves for the sabotuers that they are. Hence our resolve that Ohanaeze Ndigbo will never successfully hold any public gathering in Biafraland unless the topic under discussion is self-determination.
But many believe that IPOB’s silence showed that the FG has succeeded boxed your group to a corner?
I don’t know where you got this twisted impression that IPOB is silent. Did Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and the presidency not confirm a few weeks back that IPOB is more dangerous than Boko Haram? How can a group that cost Nigeria millions of dollars in media consultancy and lobbying be described as silent. There are two ways to generate heat, one is by visible fire like firewood, charcoal and gas, but the other is microwave. You don’t see microwave radiation; it is silent but more deadly. We protest when it’s time, we apply some other pressures as at when necessary. Whatever methodology we apply, the outcome is decisively the same always. We have rendered the name Nigeria useless before the civilized world. Biafra is getting closer and closer with the passage of each day. The warped narrative that IPOB has been subdued due to the abduction of our leader is false. Our activities are going on in earnest all over the world and preparations for our referendum is gathering momentum, so we remain unstoppable as ever.
Kanu’s wife threatened that if her husband is not found there will be no election in 2019; how potent could this threat be, IPOB having failed to stop the Anambra election as threatened by your group then?
Let me correct this impression: we did not say we will stop Anambra elections. We said we will boycott it and we did so successfully. The fact that INEC announced a result is to be expected. Nigeria is by its very essence corrupt and the powers that be wouldn’t want to make public their humiliation at the hands of IPOB that was why INEC inflated the figures to give the exercise some respectability. The wife of our leader is right in insisting there will be no elections because we will not vote. They can falsify and publish fake results, that’s up to them but we will paralyze activities in and around Biafraland on election days come 2019. We challenge INEC to publish true copies of result sheets from polling booths in Anambra governorship election. Less than one per cent of eligible voters participated in that poll and we are confident we will achieve maximum compliance with Buhari’s name on the ticket. In fact, we are certain that Middle Belt and Southern Kaduna will join our election boycott due to this regime’s support for Fulani terrorists. If what Fani-Kayode and Yoruba elders are saying carries the day, we expect total boycott of the presidential election too in Yoruba land. Aso Rock should worry more about other nationalities who have expressed their desire to boycott all elections until the national question of which way Nigeria is resolved via a referendum.
Is there any time frame for Biafra to be actualized with or without Kanu?
We hope to restore, not actualize, Biafra in the nearest possible future with our able leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leading us to victory. There is no timetable because only the Most High God, Chukwu Okike Abiama, can determine when the appointed hour will be, not man. What we know is that we are doing everything humanly possible to restore Biafra in the shortest possible time.
IPOB has continued to insist that Kanu is in custody of the Nigerian government which the government denied, so what effort is being made to ensure the correct disclosure of Kanu’s whereabouts?
We are insisting and will continue to insist on this until the army comes clean about what they did with him. They can deny all they like but the facts speak for themselves. The Nigerian Army, and General Buratai in particular, must tell the world who sent them to assassinate our leader and what they were doing in his house. Therein lies the clue to exactly know what became of him. Justice Binta Nyako’s court feigned ignorance of this important question, but we don’t think that a panel of justices at the Appeal Court would so easily exonerate them. Regarding army denial that he is not in their custody, what do you expect them to say? The culture of lying and deception has eaten so deep into the fabric of the society in Nigeria that people are no longer repulsed by it. Lying is a way of life in Nigeria, so the army will be expected to try lying themselves out of the mess they are in. The 65 million dollar question remains: what were the heavily armed soldiers and the armoured tank doing in Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s residence and who sent them? Until the army can answer this question, every idle speculation and denial by them is nothing more than an exercise in futility.