Nnamdi Kanu’s methods won Ndigbo fewer friends, and his vitriol enabled the worst of us to pass off as the face of Ndi Igbo, writes Cheta Nwanze in this article titled Uzo na-aga n’ihu, which means “the road continues”.
By Cheta Nwanze
I think we’ve spent way too much time talking about Nnamdi Kanu. Let’s be honest, the man was bad for ndi Igbo. His methods won us less friends, and his vitriol enabled the worst of us to pass off as the face of Ndi Igbo. He has met a predictable end as he is not going to come out of that dungeon, especially when you consider that he is a proven flight risk. The best we can (and should do), which is what must be done not only for our own but for every other Nigerian, is for us to insist that he has a fair and quick trial.
Having said that, what we, who are like it or not, members of the Igbo elite, should focus on now, is how to prevent someone like him come to dominate the conversation again. The gaps that the man exploited still exist. Young Igbo boys are being killed in the South-East by the security forces, extrajudicially. Are we going to say anything about it?
The bad economy is hitting our people. Trade, a sector which we dominate without contest, has been in recession for at least three years now. This means lost jobs (formal and informal) for Igbo boys. How are we going to pressure the government to fall away from this ill-advised import restriction that is clearly not working, and even worse, causing a food crisis in Nigeria that will affect us and others?
It is said that a hungry man is an angry man, so as the food situation gets worse, and more people get angry, they will look for who to blame, and it is clear that elements in this government are more than prepared to push this blame to us, which brings me to my next point: we cannot all claim to not have seen the video by some cleric in Kano encouraging attacks on our people.
If such sentiments are tapped into in a time of increasing frustration and deprivation, then we must be prepared to receive a flood of refugees from other parts of the country. Are we thinking of this as a possible scenario and making plans to prepare to receive them?
Finally, and most importantly, circling back to the issue of the vacuum that the FG’s removal of Kanu has created. That vacuum existed before Nnamdi Kanu filled it. His forceful removal leaves that vacuum widened. It must be filled and quickly. It must be filled not with hateful rhetoric that gains us more enemies, especially from our near abroad, but with hope. How do we create that hope? We need to find ways to create jobs for our people despite Buhari’s insipid economics. We pride ourselves on being smart people. I believe we can do it. We should.
*Cheta Nwanze is the Lead Partner at SBM Intelligence. He first published the article in Medium.