Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in an interview with journalists said he is certain that voters will boycott the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra State if the Federal Government refuses his demand for a referendum. IHUOMA CHIEDOZIE of Punch was there
What is your position on the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State?
There will not be any election in Anambra on the 18th of November, 2017, and there won’t be any going forward until they give me a date for a referendum. They know what to do, it is very simple. They should convene a meeting, I attend or I send my representative and they give us a date. That is very simple. That is the only way we can have elections.
Have you considered that your position could lead to bloodshed?
Where on this earth have you ever found self determination resulting in any form of conflict? Only in Nigeria, because those in the political class are not educated enough to understand or distinguish between self determination and war. They don’t mean the same thing. Referendum does not mean the same thing as war. If there is war, we still have to sit round the table to discuss, ultimately. If there isn’t any war, we still need to discuss. Things cannot go on this way. The status quo can no longer hold. Like Evangelist Eliot Ukoh said, if on or before October 1st nothing happens in terms of substantive restructuring, they will support us.
Are you not bothered that Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other Igbo leaders have distanced themselves from your call for election boycott?
No, I’m not because the people are with us. We control the people 100 per cent. And come to Anambra on the 18th of November, 2017, the whole world will be amazed.
What will IPOB do to people who decide to come out to vote in Anambra on November 18? What will happen if party members decide to come out to vote for their candidates?
Those party members are IPOB members as well and I can assure you that they will listen to us and they will not vote.
But if people come out to vote, what will IPOB do?
Nothing, we are entirely peaceful. We are not stopping anyone from voting. If you want to vote, you can go and vote. We are democrats.
Last week, you went to Nri (ancient Igbo kingdom in Anambra State believed to be the first in Igboland) and you were quoted as cursing Anambra State. It has generated a lot of controversy. What really happened?
I couldn’t possibly curse where I come from. People have this meaningless and senseless dichotomy all over the place – Imo, Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi. Before Abia State was created, I came from Imo State. Before Imo State was created, we were all from East-Central. Is that not correct? And before that, where were we? So I cannot answer an identity or a name given to me by somebody in Lagos or in Abuja. Only a dog can do that. I reject the compartmentalisation of my identity or its restriction to only Abia State. I am a Biafran. I speak Igbo language. Anambra State is part of Biafra and the capital of Biafra for that matter because they are the first son. If Anambra doesn’t (boycott the) election on the 18th of November, the glory of the Most High God will depart from them. I didn’t curse them. I asked them to wake up and rise up to their responsibility as the head of not just Igboland but Biafra and they must do that and vindicate us come the 18th of November 2017.
While granting you bail, the judge said you should not grant interviews. You are speaking to the press now, granting an interview. Are you not flouting the bail conditions?
You (journalists) asked me a question. Do you suggest I should ignore you?
No. But don’t you think that you are flouting the bail conditions by granting this interview?
I am replying you. That is what I am doing. I am not giving an interview, I am responding to the question you asked me. The judge is a very learned fellow. She cannot stop me from speaking. Buhari and the DSS have been in multiple breach of court order after court order. I wish you can go to the DSS and ask Daura, what is his name? Lawal whatever his name is, the DSS Director General, why doesn’t DSS obey court orders? They are the ones flouting the court orders. It’s not me. What I am doing is entirely legal. You ask me a question and I respond because if I keep quiet, you see me as a very arrogant fellow.
You left some people behind in prison, the people you are being tried with. What about them?
I spend each waking moment working hard to ensure their release. Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t abandon people. I never let people down, so they will be out shortly. Two days ago, we had some people released from Ogwashiuku Prison in Delta State and we funded it. Sometimes I have to release my own personal lawyer to go and attend to some of these matters. We are IPOB. We don’t abandon people.
Are you really convinced that what you are doing will eventually lead to the emergence of a Biafran state?
I am convinced because I am a Biafran. Anything we put our heart to, we accomplish it. We sustained the war for three years. Under the most heinous blockade and excommunication from the rest of humanity, we managed to survive for three years. So when Biafrans accept to do something, people should be concerned because we must accomplish what we are pursuing. I will accomplish what I am pursuing because I am a Biafran. Not the fake Biafra that people bandy about all over the place. We are very special, I can assure you.
You have not said anything about the October 1 quit notice given to Igbo in the North by Arewa youths.
Who gave the order?
The Arewa youths.
I don’t know who they are. I don’t know who they are. Inconsequential street urchins. Badly educated. Not polished nor cultured enough to offer any opinion on any issue of great importance. So why should I respond to them?
But the implication of the quit notice issued by the Arewa youths is that for Biafra to come into existence, Igbo must abandon their property in the North and probably other parts of the country and come back home. Is that your idea of Biafra? Must Igbo leave the North and other parts of Nigeria for Biafra to be realised? Should that be a condition?
That is the issue I have with education in Nigeria. People are badly educated. You are aware that Scotland is seeking to leave the United Kingdom? Are you remotely implying that every person from Scotland who lives in England should now return to Scotland? Britain just left the EU. Are you now implying that every British citizen in the EU should come back to Britain in order to finalise that process of extraction of Britain from the EU? It is an indictment of the education system in Nigeria that people go through school and come out even more hopeless than when they went into it.
You said the Arewa youths are inconsequential, are you saying that the Igbo in the North should also ignore them?
It is up to them, they have been in the North, and they have been killing us (Igbos) since 1945. If you chose to live in the North, you chose to be a sacrificial lamb because one day, they will kill you. It is a choice they have made and they will have to live with it. They are not going to stop us. Nobody can stop us. We are unstoppable. I can say with every ounce of confidence, Biafra will come, no matter what people do. If you like, go and own one thousand storey building in Kafanchan, that is your business. It has nothing to do with us. We are fighting for our freedom. Look at these kids here, they are paying fees to go to school. They are striving to survive every blessed day because of a very failed system of governance and you want me to abandon them because you own a hotel in Funtua? I can’t do that.
There seems to be some confusion in Igboland. Some people are agitating for Biafra while others are calling for restructuring. Which option should the people embrace?
That is why we are calling for a referendum so that the people can actually decide, once and for all, what they want, for themselves. Not anybody deciding for them. I have not argued Biafra from the standpoint of absolutism. I am not saying you must vote for Biafra. I am asking the powers that be in Nigeria to allow the people to determine for themselves.