– By Aloy Ejimakor –
This is a short take on the burgeoning notion (from Atiku’s quarters) that Nnamdi Kanu should call-off the presidential election Boycott in order “to assist Atiku to defeat Buhari”. Now, that surely sits well with those who feel ‘electorally entitled’.
So, let me say these:
Did Atiku ever say anything publicly that could’ve assured Nnamdi Kanu/IPOB that Atiku will consider the prospects of a Referendum? When Kanu alluded to Atiku becoming a Nigerian through a Referendum, why didn’t Atiku recognize that it might’ve been a thinly-veiled strategic opening for a “deal with Kanu to stand down the boycott”.
A good start could’ve been for Atiku to publicly condemn the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist Organisation, which the whole world had condemned. Or even the horrendous killing and maiming of IPOB members. Has he even ever mentioned IPOB or Nnamdi Kanu by name? That’s hubris or worse.
The truth is that, in this matter of election boycott, Atiku and his henchmen have neither demonstrated brinkmanship, nor elementary political courage. That’s troubling and ominous, to boot. If you believe the boycott would hurt you, why don’t you take concrete steps to stop it?
Buhari may be the personification of evil but he demonstrated political courage and profound brinkmanship by publicly defending Boko Haram against Jonathan’s and Gen Ihejirika’s successful runs against the group, and that won him the core Northern Muslim vote, even though an embarrassing paradox.
Buhari even got himself nominated Boko Haram’s chief negotiator (a tar brush) and still got elected. Heavens didn’t fall.
Then this: It’s naive for anybody to believe that Kanu’s sole purpose for the Biafran agitation is to remove Buhari (or his doppelgänger) from power or assist Peter Obi (or the Igbo) to become Vice President. These things fall far short of what is at stake for the IPOB, even as it is true that the agitation surely watered the ground for Obi’s emergence.
And … it is also naive to assume that Kanu would, willy-nilly, call-off the boycott without being sincerely approached to do so. That would be too expedient or worse.
Innocent people have died, families have been ruined, civil liberties have been laid waste, and there’s a genuine cause that has captured the imagination of millions. These are serious and material issues for discussion and they’re greater than any election that already shows signs of being dubious.
See how Ohaneze’s harried endorsement of Atiku swiftly splintered and destroyed the group, with ranking members of a faction quickly groveling to Buhari with their red caps-in-hand. This is even as Ohaneze is incapable of persuading 10 persons to sit-at-home as Kanu is capable of getting millions to comply.
Kanu is not a fool. He’s smart, very smart. He knows that APC is happy with the boycott, simply because it would be electorally advantaged by it. But is that enough to now stampede Kanu to abandon ship and become Atiku’s rank supporter without Atiku asking him to do so, and making a political concession for it?
Is the reason Atiku is avoiding Kanu is because he knows within himself that: It will be business as usual (if he assumes office), or He’s pandering to the same base that is intent on holding the Igbo down, or Simply because he has no ‘political mojo’? If any of these three is true, then Atiku neither deserves any serious consideration of calling off the boycott, nor the moral authority to rail against it.