About The Author
As someone who has taken a study on the principles of nonviolence having sat at the lotus feet of most of the world renowned nonviolent crusaders such as Darshan Singh, Dalai Lama, Rajinder Singh and most recently a self-exiled Islamic scholar M. Fettulah Gulen, I have every reason to state that while Nnamdi Kalu may have lacked the basic principles of nonviolent agitation, President Buhari lacks the virtues of diplomacy and tolerance. Give and take, no blames go to Nnamdi Kalu or President Buhari. Both are victims of a long foisted generational hatred – impacted or inherited.
During a discussion with few friends in our usual ‘bobby let’s feel good’ corner, my friend Ahmed mentioned the issue of Nnamdi Kalu’s prolonged detention despite court ruling freeing him from the gallows of the law. He wanted my opinion on the issue. He knew ethnicity-wise, Nnamdi is my kinsman. He knew as well that I am a nonviolent crusader who preaches human unity despite differences in religious, political and other social affiliations and ideologies. I have written series of books on the art of nonviolence, tolerance and the art of dialogue which I describe as the only safe path-way left through which humanity will sail to safe shores. Other paths have grown thorns of hatred and wars. Dialogue remains the only unexplored path.
During that discussion, I spoke to my friends on my take on the continued detention of Nnamdi Kalu. I shared the blame between President Buhari and the self-styled ‘freedom fighter’. I blamed Nnamdi for resorting to abusive languages to describe Nigeria and Nigerians. I am a Nigerian at least for the now, unless I am asked to bear a different nationality, but that lies in the fate of the morrows. I gave it hard on him for calling us Zoo Republic. Why will I be referred to as a citizen of Zoo Republic when as much as possible I carry on everyday activities with some good level of saneness considering that I am not permitted to hurt any man through my actions, words or even thought? Yes, these are basic ingredients of nonviolence and in the words of adepts from Eastern Skies, any action, words, thoughts that tend to hurt the other man is Karmic in Nature. However, people must feel hurt. People must pick offence even when you do not mean to offend anyone. It is human nature to misinterpret intentions that are not meant to hurt. By the way, Ahmed accused me that some of my articles as a social right advocate have ‘hit’ some folks who are caught in the web of my pen-lashes. Yes, a sinner is a sinner and a sinner forbids truth. Truth hurts within the layers of a sinner’s heart. However, Kirpal Singh has rightly said that ‘for every sinner, there’s still a future and for every saint there was a past’.
I pushed more blame on the President’s doorstep because like I have always said, he lacks two basic virtues that make an outstanding leader such as tolerance and diplomacy. I accused him to have fanned the ember of disunity through emotive comments such as ‘Giving more to where he got more from’. Yes, it is doable. No one forbids him from doing so. It is politically right, though some will say morally wrong. He can give more to those who gave him more, but must he publicly say so knowing that the 2015 general elections created lacerated hearts, stirred heated spirits, raged battered emotions and defeated flaming courage and almost divided us along regional and religious lines. He should have applied the greatest wisdom and caution in his utterances and remarks such that he would be seen as a symbol of unity, social coherence and regional harmony.
Again, I faulted the detention and the approach adopted. In my view, Nnamdi Kalu was looking forward to be arrested. He knew that will give his agitation local, regional and global clout and attention. That could have been why he visited without either of his Nigerian Passport or British Passport as alleged by the President. He has made up his mind to toe the heroic way. He knew violence was the only language spoken in Nigeria. He saw a vacuum that needed to be filled. He saw a people that needed to be stirred. He told them what they have been yearning to hear and created another heart in them whether of heroism or mischief. He set a trap and President Buhari emotively fell for it.
Ahmed asked what I thought Buhari could have done under the circumstance knowing the kind of foul languages and names Nnamdi has hauled on him. I referred to a comment credit to Nnamdi in his so-called apology letter to Buhari. He accepted he called him names but said Buhari was not the only person he called names. He said former President Jonathan, South East traditional and political elites and many other social actors were all caught in his exuberant tongue-lashing. To answer Ahmed’s question, I referred him to the era of Nigeria former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
During Obasanjo’s time, he had a thorn in his flesh in the person of Asari Dokubo. Asari was to Obasanjo what Nnamdi Kalu is to President Buhari. Along the line, Asari the acclaimed leader of Niger Delta Volunteer Force, a violent outfit that claimed responsibility of breaking oil pipelines and kidnapping foreigners who worked in the Niger Delta Region. When President Obasanjo could not take the excesses of this group, he arrested the leader in the person of Asari Dokubo. Asari was charged with treason, a crime against the state that will see him spend all the rest of his life behind bars.
No sooner Obasanjo committed this blunder than Asari followers and co-agitators graduated from breaking oil pipelines to kidnapping foreigners – British, Americans, Filipinos, Indians, Italians, Germans, just anyone they could lay hand on. That so much affected Nigeria oil production output and of course the economy was on a downward trend. Nigerian became a country notorious for kidnapping and news about Nigeria was nothing more than a country where criminality such as oil theft, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping and killing thrived. The world started to feel concern about it and the ‘West’ of course who have massive investment in the oil sector within that region started to call on the government of the day to ‘hear the agitators once more’. Asari was a tool for renegotiation. Possibly that agitation was partly what brought former President Goodluck Jonathan to national political limelight.
However, I told them that President Obasanjo would have done better with Nnamdi Kalu’s agitation. The Obasanjo I know would have tactically and subtly killed that extreme Biafra-Consciousness with his careless jokes. He may as well arrest Nnamdi Kalu. Put him behind bars and serve him half-cooked beans in Kuje Prison for some period of time to teach him a lesson that may tame his exuberance. Obasanjo will then release him and opt for a Presidential Media Chat. When the issue of Nnamdi will be mentioned to him, Obasanjo could mischievously say something like ‘Don’t mind that prodigal son Nnamdi that was still peeing on his pants when I and other patriotic Nigerian soldiers were fighting to unite Nigeria. He may not even know an Nkwobi Joint in his village operated by mama Nkechi during the war where we usually retired to feel good with some bottles of Tombo’. He may not succeed in uprooting the Biafra-Ideology but the Obasanjo I know will ‘kill’ the extreme Biafra-Consciousness with just a joke during a media chat. He will not only do that, he will make sure that he strikes a deal that will make Igbos become willing partners in his government. After all, he created more Ibo billionaires than any president has done.
This indispensable art is totally absent in the person of President Buhari. He does not tend to resort to alternative ways of settling disputes other than militarization of disputes. I have stated in my book that no peace have ever been achieved with arms otherwise today, with all arms intellectualism and arms craft, peace has remained elusive. Peace founded on arms is never known to last because there are unsettled scores, burning hatred that must someday be revenged; there are lose of properties and lives that someday must be avenged.
To that extend, President Buhari has perfected his skills in arms peace being a retired general in Nigeria Army who has meritoriously served his nation. This time, the tide has pointed us to another direction that requires less arms, less suppression and less hatred. The time calls for re-examination of alternative ways of settling dispute through dialogue, love, tolerance and nonviolent remarks that will heal lacerated hearts and mend broken spirits.
Hey, the time was far spent and someone needed each of us home. We parted to our different homes. While I was still knocking for the gateman to open the gate, a text came in from Ahmed with the remark ‘You could fare better teaching the art of nonviolence and bequeathing same to an average Nigerian youths and leaders’. I smiled and hurried in for my shower. The sky was still exuding twinkling stars and the moon alluring brilliance. ‘It was a good outing’. I said to myself. With this, I retired and snored away to those calming realms.