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Sunday, July 21, 2024

An Open Letter To Maazi Nnamdi Kanu [MUST READ]

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“…And I suspect that some people in government are complicit. They are making money with insecurity. They are making money with it. They know [if] Nnamdi Kanu is outside, in two minutes this nonsense will stop. Who is the idiot? Who is the bagger that will speak when I’m talking? Who is the fool? Who is the idiot, I ask? That I give an order in the East and any idiot will counter it. Who is the bastard? I’m asking you. Nobody can. I’m Nnamdi Kanu. Who is the idiot?…” (Maazi Nnamdi Kanu, 3/19/24)

Nwanne m, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu:

Fraternal greetings!

Watching you in the video from which the above comments were excerpted, I’m delighted and excited at your vibrance and level of energy. Truly, the tiger still wears his unmistakable spots. I am encouraged even as I commend you to the care and protection of the gods of our fathers. Be strong! It is well.

I look forward, most fervently, to the day that you finally take the long walk to freedom. I can’t wait to see you released from what has since become an unlawful kidnap and detention. I have said that in one million different ways. But I doubt seriously that you, Nnamdi Kanu, even understand why you are still being held. If you did, you would not be making the kinds of comments and threats you made in the referenced video.

It’s obvious to me that you think – perhaps even believe – that it is Abuja that is holding you in Abuja. No, brother, it is not Abuja that is holding you. It wasn’t Buhari that was holding you, just as it is not the current gang of illegitimate usurpers that is holding you. Look east of the Niger Bridge for those who have kept you locked up in Abuja. You will find them in the regional power centers of Enugu, Agụ Awka, Umuahia, Owerri, and Abakiliki.

You see, Brother Kanu, you have never run or won any elections known to law in Igbo land. And in Igbo land today, almost every position of leadership is elective, including those of traditional rulers. People spend insane sums of money, take all kinds of risks, commit all sorts of unprintable atrocities, to win or steal those elections. When they have won or stolen those elections, they guard the power that they bestow with their lives. They go to the ends of the earth to fortify their powers and positions against any threat or opposition, real or imagined. They do even worse things to keep themselves in power than they did to win or steal it, including sacrificing away and selling out their own flesh and blood. For them, no price is too high to pay to keep the reins and lucres of power.

After listening to you in that video, it was clear that you were directing your fiery vitriol at the governors of Igbo states – as should you. After listening, there was a part of me that stood in ovation. But there was also a part of me that screamed, “Holy shit! Does he even know what a grievous mistake he just made?” That first part of me was the visceral one. The second was the circumspect. The visceral me wants you to keep spitting fire, it does not care from where you are spitting. The circumspect me cares about where you are when you are spitting the fire more than the fire itself. It doesn’t want the fire coming from behind bars. In that internal struggle, I let the circumspect win the day.

So, yes, holy shit, do you even know what a grievous mistake you just made? It is a mistake that will keep you spitting fire from behind the bars of Abuja gulag in your white Versace jumpsuit for months and years to come. You see, bro, power loathes raw challenge. So, when you ask, “who is the idiot? Who is the bagger that will speak when I’m talking?”, those governors in Enugu, Agụ Awka, Owerri, Umuahia, and Abakiliki take serious note and offense.

When you ask, “who is the fool? Who is the idiot? That I give an order in the East and any idiot will counter it. Who is the bastard? Who is the idiot?…”, when you ask those questions, even as rhetorical as they are, and make those declarative claims, the governors are rattled and robbed the wrong way. Those same governors who come to break breads with you in Abuja prison, or so it seems, accompanied by a crew of cameras and social media aides, feel threatened and endangered when you roar like a wounded lion and spit fire like a dragon. The same governors who go to Aso Rock to beg for your release in closed door meetings, or so they claim, hate to see such challenge. So, yes, holy shit, do you know what the hell you are doing? Obviously, you don’t.

Let’s break it down, bro; let’s be real here for a minute. You are from Abia State. That’s Gov. Alex Otti’s state. If you are released today, you are headed home to Umuahia. Do you know who lives in Umuahia? Alex Otti lives in Umuahia. Now, let me tell you something about Alex Otti. He is beloved in Abia State and across Igbo land. He is doing things that nobody ever thought could be done in this era of politics in Igbo land. You will love Alex. He’s Jesus! If there’s an election in Abia State today, between you and Alex Otti, he will beat you with a very wide margin. As a matter of fact, you might even vote for him yourself. That may sound like sad news for you, bro!

But that’s Alex Otti of your home state of Abia. In the remaining four Igbo states of Enugu, Anambra, Imo, and Ebonyi, if an election were held today between you and each of those state governors, you will beat each of them like a drum. Ironically, however, that’s also sad news for you, bro! So, whether it is Abia state where Alex Otti will beat you in a matchup, or in Enugu, Anambra, Imo, and Ebonyi states where you will beat Governors Mba, Soludo, Uzodimma, and Nwifuru like they have stolen things you treasure, the effect is essentially the same. The good people of Abia State whose lives have been dramatically changed under the transformational leadership of Alex Otti will resist any attempt by any human being to disrupt the good thing they have going – and that, I’m afraid, includes your fire-spitting self.

In Enugu, Anambra, Imo, and Ebonyi states, the people will be your foot soldiers against their own governors. That’s good news for you. But there’s one bad news for you and the people who are fanatically willing to be your foot soldiers: the governors’ soldiers have bigger guns and deeper pockets. Abuja guns are the biggest just as Abuja pockets are the deepest. And those governors have ingratiated themselves to Abuja guns and pockets and have shown no inclination for restraint in calling them in for backup.

Nwanne m, Maazi Kanu, that’s your reality in Igbo land today. I’m not here to flatter you’ll, I’m here to give it to you unfiltered. It’s not going to be business as usual for you in Igbo land if and when you regain your freedom. I say if because your fiery rhetoric, as much as I love it, will keep you in Abuja inexplicably longer. The people you call idiots, baggers, and bastards; the people whom you dare to talk when you are talking, or counter you when you have given an order in the East, even though they are the ones who have actually stood for elections and either won or stolen the results, don’t want to talk when you are talking, or counter you when you give order in the East. To be honest with you, they don’t. The reason they don’t is not because they can’t. No, it is because they don’t have to. They don’t have to for as long as they work with your Abuja jailers to keep you locked up and locked down.

Open your eyes, bro. Your travails don’t come from Abuja. Abuja should be the least of your worries. Your core enemies are homegrown. Abuja cannot hold you as indefinitely as they have without the active conspiratorial connivance and acquiescence of Abakiliki, Abor, Aba, and Abatete. And if you want to be truthful to yourself, you can see why. You can see why your so-called Igbo governors and the itinerant Ọhaneze bunch may not be in a hurry to see you back in Igbo land. You are bad business for them. You are a threat to their power and their authority. They may pay you occasional visits in Abuja just as part of their sightseeing when they are in town. They will come with camera crews and social media aides. They will post photos and videos on social media to fool their local constituents who are fanatic about you. And they will issue press statements about their closed-door meetings with Aso Rock where they had gone to press for your immediate release. I trust you are smart enough to see through those stunts and charades.

My brother, listen to me. These your brothers don’t want you out. And if you want to know the mad truth, if I were one of the Igbo governors myself, I would not want you released. Yes, you heard me. Why would I? If you Nnamdi Kanu were Gov. Nnamdi Kanu of any one of those Igbo states, would you want the fire-spitting Nnamdi Kanu released back to Igbo land? Of course not! Will I lose my car keys for telling you the truth? That is just what it is, my friend! The sooner you reconciled yourself to that reality, the better for you and the millions of us who want you out. As you can see, it is no longer the law that is holding you in prison. The law has already set you free. What is still holding you back in Abuja prison is power – raw and naked power. It is power that is fueled and driven by fear, the fear of you.

Now, you have a choice. Do you want to remain the fearsome lion that you are, but a caged one? Or does the caged lion want to give up some of his teeth in trade for his freedom? Look, bros, I don’t know what your lawyers and advisers tell you when they have your ears. I’m a realist, so let’s be downright realistic here. The reality of your situation right now is that there is no way the governors of Igbo states and the leadership of Ọhaneze will sign on to your release with the sort of incendiary salvos you fired in that referenced video. Take it to the bank. These guys did not commit all the atrocities they committed to become governors just to surrender it to a mega potentate. Hell no! That’s not how the game of power is played. Question is how many teeth is the lion prepared to pull and trade to be uncaged? That is what it all comes down to. It’s a shrewd negotiation, but it is one that must be had.

Brother Kanu, I think it’s time you cooled it. Stop wasting your time with Justice Binta Nyako and the Abuja judicial elite. Your trouble is not with them. Your trouble is not legal anymore. Your trouble is local. If I were a negotiatior for your release, I would take a straight flight down to Enugu and prevail on the governor of Enugu state to call a meeting of all the governors of the Igbo states and the leadership of Ọhaneze ndị Igbo. I don’t need Abuja. If I negotiate a form of power accommodation deal for you with those Igbo governors and Ọhaneze leadership, Abuja will cut you loose in 24 hours. Of course, that will mean that you spit less fire, bare less fangs, and make the governors and Igbo leaders less uncomfortable.

It’s not going to be an easy negotiation; I must tell you. How does anyone negotiate a power sharing deal between people who, in the eyes of the law, are elected and legitimate authorities and one individual who has never stood for election, let alone won any office of power? It’s going to be a tough negotiation, my friend. I will not be holding much in terms of leverage. The only bargaining chip I will have going in is that Nnamdi Kanu wields charismatic and intimidatory power across Igbo land. The problem with that is that Igbo land is not North Korea and should never be. So, you must be willing to give me more to work with. You must be willing to chill and cool your tigritude. As difficult as it will be for you, you must be prepared to acknowledge the governors as the holders of real and legitimate power and authority in Igbo land. I hate to break it to you, bro, but that is the only way this works. Know that and know your freedom.

But you are Nnamdi Kanu. You are the Ọhamadike of Igbo land. With or without a position of power and authority known to law, the people know their warrior and their leader (ọhamadike)! When you are free and back with your people, you can play the legitimate game of power. You cannot play it in chains. With the clout and charm and charisma that you have, you can unseat each of the governors of Enugu, Anambra, Imo, and Ebonyi. Alex Otti and Abia State are beyond your reach. You can be the kingmaker who plants his loyalists in the government houses of those four Igbo states. That is where things are, Maazi. That is the reality of the moment. I can’t wait to see you released, my friend. You are one hell of a courageous hero! But when that day comes, and the shackles come off, and the gates are flung open, and you take that long walk to freedom in Igbo land, just remember not to do that on a Monday. You see, bro, we are still sitting at home – the way you commanded us. Until then, may the gods of our land keep you company.


Vitus Ozoke is a lawyer, a civil and human rights activist, and a public commentator based in the United States.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. 

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