…Kanu has gone on an over-drive to launch a barrage of ad hominem attacks on the person of Nwodo and his team, calling them Fulani stooges. Kanu went on to make some hefty but ridiculous allegations that the Ohaneze leader is behind all the herdsmen atrocities and Operation Python Dance in the South-East. Today, he has gone even further as to make a serious threat on the life of a fellow Igboman.


Any student of Igbo folklore knows too well not to dance to the spooky tunes of Surugede. If done, it never ends well. In fact, the unmitigated calamity that is sure to follow would be a sad reminder that the high-pitched eerie note belongs in the realm of the spirit and the dead. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the self-described supreme leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), regrettably ignored this crucial life lesson and, like the one whom the gods wanted to destroy, was first made mad.

Trending in the news lately is the effort led by the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, and endorsed by the South-East governors, to create what is now called the Alaigbo Stabilisation Fund. In pursuant of this initiative, a 50-man steering committee made up of experts and professionals in various spheres of life was constituted. Their mandate is to come up with a blueprint on how to jumpstart the economic engine of the region and make Alaigbo a favored destination of new capital. It’s the latest attempt by a people known for their legendary enterpreneural spirit but who hitherto have continued to sail on a rudderless ship with devastating consequences.

For one who just a few months ago wrote a long open letter addressed to the South-East governors and made a passionate plea on the subject, this brought me so much joy. In fact, almost all the people I have encountered thus far view the move as not just positive but strategic to the economic empowerment of the region. The only exception is Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. The leader of IPOB allegedly declared a fatwa on the Ohaneze leader and was reported to have encouraged his millions of followers to stone Nnia Nwodo to death whenever he comes within sight.

On the surface it seems like the issue between Mazi Kanu and the Ohaneze leadership bothers on a perceived difference in strategy. While Kanu and his IPOB wants nothing but Biafra, Ohaneze on the other hand does not foreclose the prospect of Biafra but views secession from the Nigerian state as only a last resort. The apex Igbo socio-political body’s position aligns with that of the bulk of the Igbo intelligentsia and favours a restructured Nigeria, not just as a matter of political pragmatism but also as a more viable economic option.

With this rift, Kanu has gone on an over-drive to launch a barrage of ad hominem attacks on the person of Nwodo and his team, calling them Fulani stooges. Kanu went on to make some hefty but ridiculous allegations that the Ohaneze leader is behind all the herdsmen atrocities and Operation Python Dance in the South-East. Today, he has gone even further as to make a serious threat on the life of a fellow Igboman. It’s just hard to imagine how Mazi Kanu’s latest posturing is helping with realising the Igbo agenda or fostering unity among Ndigbo. I have a feeling that this move is a naked Machiavellian approach to power grab; a last ditch effort to crush whoever is on his path to achieving an imperial dream.

John Nnia Nwodo was elected the ninth president-general of Ohaneze in 2017, when he won by a landslide in an election in which he polled 242 against 13 to defeat his opponent, Professor Chinweyete Ejike, a university don and ex-vice chancellor of the former Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH). Prior to that, Nwodo, a lawyer and alumnus of the London School of Economics, had achieved a distinguished career both in the private and public sectors. He cut his political teeth as the first Igbo president of the Students Union Government at the University of Ibadan. He was to later serve as a minister under the administrations of President Shehu Shagari and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Ike Ukehe is a blue blood from a rich pedigree, a rare mix of cultural and political royalty. His late father, Chief John Nwodo I, was a two-time minister under the Eastern Region premiers, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Micheal Okpara, and the older Nwodo was also reputed to be one of the biggest financiers of the short-lived Republic of Biafra. The family maintained a close personal relationship with the Ikemba, Odumegwu Ojukwu, up untill his demise in November 2011. As a young man, Nnia Nwodo fought in the Nigerian civil war on the Biafran side and stayed in the trenches till the very end. Such is the profile of the man Nnamdi Kanu has condemned as a stooge of Fulani oligarchy and now wants dead. Disturbing is the fact that he is yet to provide an iota of proof of his allegations. How dangerous!

In my last essay marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the Biafran war, I took time to eulogise Kanu and his IPOB for their solid contribution to the struggle for justice for Ndigbo. That still holds. I believe that Nnamdi Kanu will forever remain an important historical figure in that context. In that same piece, I also encouraged him to close ranks with the Ohaneze and work together for the common good.

It is so troubling that today, the IPOB leader continues to thread on a very dangerous terrain. He is relying heavily on his army of dimwits within the ranks of a fanatical following to visit mayhem on anyone who dares to question his modus operandi or stands in the way to his totalitarian rule.

Nnamdi Kanu should to be reminded that silencing opposing voices is totally against the republican nature of the people whose affairs he plans to superintendent. This illustrious son of Chukwuokikeabiama surely needs our prayers.

Osmund Agbo, the president and CEO of African Center for Transparency, writes from the United States.