Agba Jalingo: “Nnamdi Kanu Cannot Get an Independent State by Dividing Us”.
Agba Jalingo, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Cross River Watch, has stated that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), cannot get his desired independent State of Biafra by dividing other Nigerians. He stated this last night, when he featured as guest of TVC News Nigeria’s program, Deji 360. Agba said that: “The rest of us will join our hands together and fight him. If he thinks that he can get a sovereign nation of Biafra by dividing the rest of us, then he has failed ab initio. If you want to achieve this kind of goal, you must achieve it by building consensus, with bi-sectional and multi-sectional interests….”
Please read the rest of Agba’s conversation with Deji Bademosi, the program’s producer and presenter, below:
Deji: How justifiable are the actions of people believed to be men of the Nigerian Army as seen in some videos trending online where some of the IPOB members were told to roll in mud water?
Agba: “Those actions are very condemnable and I think that those who are responsible should fish out those officers and men in the army and deal with them as a deterrence to others. We believe and agree that they have a duty to play when the police are overwhelmed, but when they come in, they should also check the excesses….”
Deji: Do you think the police has been overwhelmed in the case of IPOB and what Nnamdi Kanu is about?
Agba: “We have reports where a Commissioner of Police addressed the press and said a mob burnt down one of their vans, killed one of their officers and a couple of other things. And then of course, this morning again we are hearing they invaded the home of a DPO (Divisional Police Officer) somewhere and burnt down some things as well. It is becoming very clear and somebody is saying that elections will not hold. Somebody is saying that, ‘I have started a security service, Biafra security service’ and that they are going to wipe out the Nigerian Army. No no, no, I don’t think there is any government in the world that will sit down and fold its arms. That is no longer a civil matter. Somebody is bringing together a violent militia.”
Deji: Was the government hasty in deploying the military?
Agba: “That is what we kept saying until some monsters mushroomed in this country and became uncontrollable cancer that the country had to battle it for five years. Up to today we are still feeling their effect because people kept saying that Government was reluctant, government was this and that. At any point any group of people decide to come together and have the audacity and the temerity to put themselves together and call themselves a security service, and whoever they call their commander stand and begin to take salute, they must be ready to face the sovereign army of that nation. It is no longer a police matter. And I think that what the government has done is the right thing to have done. What I do not agree with are those sorts of rampant abuses that we saw some men in the army perpetuating. If those videos are verified, those people should be dealt with.”
Deji: Some people are saying that government should wait until Nnamdi Kanu appears in court, or that if he does not appear in court, then government can then move against him. What is your response to this?
Agba: “Sincerely, we don’t know the sort of intelligence that the Nigerian Army had to have caused them to take whatever action that they took around the precincts of Nnamdi Kanu’s home. I certainly don’t have privilege to that kind of information, but I want to say that if it is true that soldiers were moving and some people decided to pelt stones and that they will not allow them pass, you see, when you do that to soldiers, I’m a soldier’s son, you expect something in return. It is common all over the world. You don’t do that even in the UK because you must expect something in return. That is the truth of the matter. I think that was wrong. And then of course, even if I want to test your will, and you say you now have an army and I am coming to pass by your neighbourhood to test your will, it is still the duty of government to do that. And then you provoke the soldiers and you don’t expect any reaction. I don’t think it can happen anywhere in the world. The government has a duty to check Nnamdi Kanu’s activities. If IPOB wants to agitate for a sovereign nation, it is their right, it is their duty, but that must be done lawfully.”
Deji: What do you say to the argument that IPOB has not become an armed group.
Agba: “Well, maybe I don’t know what an arm means any more. These people, we saw them yesterday, stopping vehicles with cutlasses, with cudgels and carrying all sorts of things and looking for members of one ethnic group that they supposedly accuse of whatever. I don’t know if a matchet is no longer an arm. People that have the audacity to go and burn down police van, they are not violent. That is what people kept telling us about Zazakky until the army invaded his home and then there was an exchange of gun fire between soldiers and his people. Yet, they were doing secret military drills here and there. In fact, people told us that if you touch Zazakky, Nigeria was going to burn down and that there was going to be war everywhere. Zazakky has been cooling his feet somewhere. Peace has returned to Zaria. And I am sure that government is in consultation with his people.”
“Government deplored soldiers to operation Crocrodile Smile in the Niger Delta. People said government was creating chaos in the Niger Delta. It has not helped to address the injustices in the region but it has helped to return peace, because somebody knows that you are going to be intimidated by government. There is a government somewhere. You cannot constitute yourself to a government. And Tompolo has remained in hiding since then. These are actions that government needs to take, and take very timely and very firmly. And if in the course of doing this, you discover that there are abuses, we must rise up collectively and condemn those abuses unequivocally.”
Deji: You have a situation where an individual is painting a picture that the problem of southeast is caused by a section of the country. Is it necessary to have some of these talks organized by Nnamdi Kanu for instance, clearly targeted at particular tribes in this country?
Agba: “Kanu is capitalizing on something. There are so many uninformed persons in Nigeria. The language he is speaking, just like Trump in America, that divisive language of hatred, is catching up very fast with a certain number of people and a certain class of people in society who themselves are filled with hatred. So, they have seen somebody that seems to be expressing their own projections and that is why the message is catching up with those people that are following him.”
“But, this also boils down to the fact that there is a lot of injustice in Nigeria that needs to be addressed…. There are a lot of things, there are a lot of incongruities in the way our polity is being run, in the way Nigeria is being managed. There is need for an urgent reversal of so many things that are going on in Nigeria. Having said that, Kanu must realize that you cannot create an independent state by dividing the rest of us. The rest of us will join our hands together and fight him. If he thinks that he can get a sovereign nation of Biafra by dividing the rest of us, then he has failed ab initio.”
“If you want to achieve this kind of goal, you must achieve it by building consensus, with bi-sectional and multi-sectional interests to see how you arrive at a whole. But if Kanu thinks that he can only achieve this by dividing the rest of us, then he should know that he has failed ab initio, and he will not go anywhere because he cannot seek to divide others and seek to create a homeland for himself. It is never going to happen. The earlier he gets that into his head, and the earlier the leaders in the South-East caution him, the better it will be for everybody.”
Deji: But have the leaders of the South East cautioned him?
Agba: “No, they haven’t. They see Kanu suddenly as the new pawn to negotiate. All of them are happy. Forget all the speeches they make in public. They all negotiate with this young man secretly. It is just like when Asari came out of prison. He was the biggest product in the stock market. Everybody wanted to invest in him. His noise was everywhere; his value was very high. Everybody was talking to him. Politicians from North, South, East and West were discussing with him. They started using him to negotiate for whatever they wanted from the centre.”
“It is the same case with Nnamdi Kanu. He is a pawn in their hands. They will use him while his popularity lasts. I can assure Nigerians that all those singing war songs, nobody is going to fight any war. This is not going to lead us to any chaos. Government will contain what is happening in the South-East. Peace will return and Nnamdi of course will negotiate his way and join the Nigerian Elite Club. He will just become one of those “big men” as Asari has become. And then the followers will go around with their forlorn hopes, and nothing would change until we go back to that negotiating table.”
Deji 360 is aired on TVC News Nigeria from 8.00-9.00 pm on Sundays.
- Cornelius Ellah