Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s ex-spokesperson, Reno Omokri has withdrawn his support for Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB).
Omokri said his decision is hinged on some of Kanu’s utterances, how he has carried minority groups who he claims are part of Biafra and how IPOB members attack those who oppose them.
The renowned author reiterated that he has never supported any separatist or secessionist agenda, but has supported and defended the right of Nigerians to express himself and associate freely.
He noted that it would be hypocritical of him to be against Communications Minister, Isa Pantami for making inciteful comments in the past while still defending Kanu who also made similar utterances.
In his words: ”Recently, my perspective on Nigeria changed. I have never supported any separatist or secessionist agenda. However, I have supported and defended the right of any Nigerian to express himself and associate freely. It does not matter to me where such a person comes from.
When the Buhari administration moved against Ibrahim Zakzaky and the Shiites, I was the first person (not one of the first) to defend them. After defending them publicly myself, I called the then President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, and begged him to issue a statement calling for an end to the killings of Shiites. He told me that though it was an Islamic affair, nevertheless, because of his fondness for me, he would speak in support, and he did.
I have similarly championed the causes of oppressed persons or people from every part of Nigeria. As much as is humanly possible, I have refused to be partial in my advocacy.
In the last three years, I have visited 40 nations on my own dime and time, for the cause of #FreeLeahSharibu, seeking freedom for a Christian girl from Borno. I have not collected a dime from anyone and of anyone knows anyone who has given me a penny, then they should publicly expose me.
Before Nnamdi Kanu was arrested, I did not know who he was. I just defended his right to freedom of expression and association. Various Igbo leaders called me privately to thank me. It would be wrong to mention their names, because of the challenges of the moment.
When Kanu was rearrested, I called a British government official and got the facts. I was the first (not one of the first. The first) to reveal that he was arrested in Kenya, and not in The UK. After I released this information, the media ran with it.
Yesterday, a former Presidential candidate sent me a tape of Nnamdi Kanu dissolving the UK branch of IPOB and tongue lashing the members of IPOB UK. He told them to hand over IPOB money in their possession. He then said that he suspected that the British Secret service was running IPOB UK.
I was shocked and refused to believe what I heard, until this ex Presidential candidate from the South pointed me to an IPOB channel where this same audio was broadcast.
So I published it on my page. I did not add or edit or alter the voice. I released it as is.
Given that that broadcast was released earlier this year (I was told it was first broadcast in March if 2021, though I am not 100% sure) and Nnamdi Kanu was arrested so soon after (in June), I asked if that altercation could have led to Kanu being betrayed by his members in the UK.
The result was that various persons, who claimed to be members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra descended on my page and insulted me, attacked me and accused me of collecting money from Buhari. (Would Buhari even give me money? If Buhari will give me anything, it is more likely to be a letter bomb).
They said Nnamdi Kanu can insult anyone he liked and I should leave him alone.
A certain Northerner, who has been on my page attacking me for what he had previously called my “love for the Igbo”, now asked a question. He said ‘so you people have forgotten when this man was fighting for you so soon’? And so I went into deep thought.
If Nnamdi Kanu eventually gets Biafra and I am a minority in that Biafra, what would be my fate? Would I be able to express myself? Would I have the freedoms for which I myself have been fighting for Nnamdi Kanu to get for the last five years? Would I be able to hold sensitive positions?
I am not Yoruba, but because of me, these members of IPOB insulted the Yoruba (why do people always think I am Yoruba?). I was called ‘ewu Yoruba’. Somebody even threatened to kill me if I ever stepped into Onitsha (the same Onitsha where I donated money and raised millions for victims of the 2019 Onitsha Market Fire?).
These people in their hundreds descended on me with a consistent refrain, that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is the supreme leader of the Igbos and he could insult his members if he chose and no one could question him.
And that prompted a paradigm shift in my consciousness. If you have been following the dailies, you would have read one or two stories planted by the Buhari administration in the papers of how they have been tracing Kanu and monitoring his movements for two years.
The stories claimed that they were able to get to him through members of the Eastern Security Network that they had captured. Then a few days ago, they released a video testimony of one captured ESN member, by name Emeoyiri Uzorma Benjamin, that has now gone viral, in which the young man claimed that Kanu had given them instructions to kill policemen and soldiers, as well as their fellow Igbos.
He sensationally claimed that Kanu instructed them to bury one of his lieutenants, Nwaokike Kayinayo Andy, AKA Ikonso with 2000 human heads. Even more sensationally, he alleged that Mr. Kanu gave directives to them to kill young girls, who they used for fetish charms.
Now, it is not possible to say it this fellow is telling the truth, or half truths or lies. However, from his testimony, or account of the inside workings of IPOB/ESN, and the broadcasts which I listened to, and which is also available on some IPOB social media accounts, we see that Nnamdi Kanu had almost total authority over IPOB.
All this time, I was thinking that, though Nnamdi Kanu showed extreme indiscretion by going to a country like Kenya, which is notorious for extrajudicially extraditing people to regimes seeking them (the Turkish government did exactly the same thing the Nigerian government did with Kanu to Selahaddin Gulen, a Turkish dissident that was captured by Turkey’s intelligence from Nairobi. In that instance, Kenya first denied complicity, then promised to investigate the event. It happened in 2016. Kenya is still ‘investigating’ that event), that he nevertheless must have been betrayed by someone in his organisation, who tipped the Nigerian intelligence agencies that Kanu was headed to Kenya.
But my experience with Mr. Kanu’s supporters made me have a rethink. With the way they treat him as though he is infallible, could it not be more likely that there was nobody within the organisation bold enough to advise Mr. Kanu not to travel to Kenya, because to do so, or to counter him in any way, would have brought upon such a person weighty consequences.
And then I began thinking about the ‘dot in a circle’ statement by General Buhari. I had criticised Buhari for making that comment. It is most irresponsible of him to have described the Igbo as such. It showed his malevolent mindset towards some citizens of his own country, and he should apologise.
However, on further introspection, I began to cast my mind to statements Nnamdi Kanu had made in his many broadcasts which I only watched just yesterday.
He unacceptably insults Black people as being less intelligent than other races (how can a Black person say such things? Is that not self hatred?). He attacks Yoruba churches, pastors and media (what is a Yoruba church? Honestly, I had never heard of a Yoruba church until I heard that word from Kanu. I thought all churches belonged to God through Christ).
You can imagine if you are Yoruba and sympathetic to the plight of the Igbo, and you listen to all the bile from Kanu about your ethnic nationality, how would you look if you continue to defend him to your kinsmen?
Then you listen to some of the even more outrageous things he has said about Northerners (Igbos, your enemy is Buhari. Your enemies are not the Hausa or Fulani. Don’t mix up the two). I cannot even repeat them here.
Looking back to those broadcasts, it looks to me that it is Nnamdi Kanu himself who made IPOB (not the Igbos as Buhari claims) a dot in a circle.
He made no attempts to be persuasive. He did not even try to win hearts. He made no pretence of anything but contempt to anyone who was not part of his Biafra. Even though I had always thought that Odili, Amaechi and Wike and their people in Rivers state are Igbos, I now understand, but do not agree with Wike’s claims that they are not Igbos.
Who would want to be a minority in a country ruled by Kanu? Tufiakwa! You speak your mind and you may be shot on the spot!
To be honest, I had never listened to these broadcasts by Nnamdi Kanu until they were brought to my attention by this Southern Presidential candidate. I was clueless about their existence. In fact, I felt a bit naive. I felt like a fool!
Anyone who has been following me for the last six years would have known how much of my time and money I have devoted to defending, advocating for and promoting the cause of the Igbos.
However, having watched for the first time these videos where Nnamdi Kanu called Black people wicked (I am Black, but I don’t think I am wicked), and where he described Igbos who refuse to support IPOB as evil, I am flummoxed!
However, the one that shocked me the most was his statement that (and this is an exact quote), “If you are attending a Yoruba church, you should be ashamed of yourself. Anyone who attends a church headed by a Yoruba pastor is an idiot. A complete fool. An imbecile. I have no time for them. They are worse than Boko Haram. They are very, very foolish. If your pastor is Yoruba, you are not fit to be a human being.”
And the funniest thing is that the pastor who provoked him into making that statement is from Auchi. He is not even Yoruba. No wonder they think I am Yoruba. To these lot, anyone Southerner West of the Niger is Yoruba. They have a majority mindset that is not minority friendly AT ALL.
Even more disturbing is that this Auchi pastor, who Nnamdi Kanu calls Yoruba, and used to generalise all Yoruba pastors, was summoned by DSS in December of 2016, and asked to explain why he did a video calling for Kanu’s release. Who fights those who fights for them?
How did I miss these broadcasts? Have I been too focused on Buhari to the extent that I was blindsided? Is this the fellow I have been defending?
I am a minority. My late father was a minority. He went to Sokoto as a Youth Corp Member in 1975, and became Nigeria’s youngest Director of Public Prosecution and Nigeria’s youngest judge (at the time), and was elevated to the Court of Appeal, all from old Sokoto. Would that be possible in Kanu’s Biafra?
And when he was interviewed in 2020 by Dr. Damages (I did not even know until the same Southern former Presidential candidate sent me the video), and given an opportunity to denounce his previous statements against the Yoruba, Nnamdi Kanu doubled down on it and said as follows:
“Most of the difficulties we have been having have always come from these Yoruba pastors.”
Then he went on to say in that same 2020 interview as follows:
“Yoruba Pentecostalism is the reason why Fulanis are invading us today.”
Where is the connection between Pentecostal churches and killer herdsmen?
I was stunned. This video was recorded last year. How come I never saw it. I checked on YouTube and only 27,000 people had seen it.
How can I be against Isa Pantami for saying “We are all happy whenever unbelievers are being killed” and then tolerate these statements from Nnamdi Kanu?
If I do, it will make me a hypocrite. And while I mistakenly may sometimes be hypocritical, I will not be deliberately hypocritical.
Everything I have said here is the truth. It is on video and audio. If you do not like what I have written, then jejely unfollow me. We are obviously not on the same wavelength and I am not about to change in order to make you like me.”