I hope you get to read this letter in the comfort of your home or office and not in a dingy room in prison or in another not so comfortable cell in the EFCC. It will delight me to know that you read this letter, baby-sitting Arragorn, my nwadiala. Looking into his eyes as you read this, will further remind you how beautiful, proud, industrious and enviably endowed the Igbos are. It will give you reasons to come out with regrets and pen a sincere apology to the Igbo people for referring to Nnamdi Kanu as their most credible leader. It can only take a woman from Igboland to give you such an invaluable heir. Thank her, thank Ndigbo.
When my attention was called to the first article you wrote immediately you were released from detention, I was anxious to read it like I do with any news of a new offering from you. I do not always agree with your logic and theories, but I bow to the creativity, the passion, the juggles with words, and the courage with which you put forward your arguments. For a man like you who has seen and enjoyed power and influence from the highest places in this country and who has wide connections across board, I respect the fact that you are not cowing out easily. I like fighters, because I know how uneasy it is to fight. Your rugged spirit is unusual for a Nigerian aristocrat who would quickly realign in order to enjoy the comfort of power no matter who is stirring the ship of State at any point in time.
Everything you wrote in that article is expected of a gifted image maker who has taken up the job of selling his own image to Nigerians by discrediting the administration that has chosen to bring him to account for his activities when he enjoyed public office and handled public money. While this will form the theme in a latter discourse, let me remind you that not all Nigerians are that gullible to embrace you as saint when you haven’t convincingly dispelled every doubt concerning your alleged mismanagement of public funds for which you are being prosecuted. I wish your legal team will be able to convince the courts that every money you collected from the federal government was deployed for the good of all Nigerians and not for some personal or clique businesses.
Asking if Femi Fani-Kayode likes to insult the Igbos is like asking if Chinwendu had sex with Femi before Arragorn came to be. You have not hidden your disdain for the Igbo people, whom you unfortunately want to make us believe are your in-laws. This disdain might have always been there, but it became more manifest three years ago, when you took to the public space to insult one of Igbo nation’s greatest leaders ever, by insinuating that you had intimate relationship with his beautiful wife under his own nose. I am aware that Mrs Bianca Ojukwu is still in court with you over this blackmail against not just her dignity as a woman, but to the entire Igbo people. In case you do not know, the implication of that statement is more far-reaching than the political goal which you intended to score at the moment. By such claim, you insinuate that the man who was crowned the paramount leader of the entire Igbo nation was not leading well from his bedroom, hence, you had to help out by taking his most cherished jewel and tasting what was exclusively his. Need I tell you that insulting the leader of a people is the same as pouring scorn on the entire people?
You had written several disparaging things against the Igbos and those who know you closely affirm that you only see the Igbos around you as pawns who are only good to be used for the work they can do for you at the time and for the women, the satisfaction you can derive from them within the time they are with you. Some of the things you had said and written in the past against the Igbos make one wonder if you wished that God never created anything like the Igbo race.
One of your most widely circulated article against the Igbos was the provocatively titled ; “THE BITTER TRUTH ABOUT THE IGBOS”, which you published on the 8th of August, 2013 in response to the outrage by not just the Igbos but most concerned Nigerians and even voices from the diaspora against the ill-advised and wicked decision of the former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola to deport several Igbos who were legitimately doing business in different areas of Lagos State and abandomed them to the mercy of the elements. It is on record that the same Femi Fani Kayode who is struggling so hard to make the world see him as a humane servant of truth and a voice for justice came out with a long essay in support of that inhumane government action and even went as far as scorning the Igbos for the genocidal wickedness meted on them in the Northern part of the country in the 50s and 60s. In the same article, you berated Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as careless and politically brutish and blamed his poor judgement for the death of the NCNC in the Southwest especially and the entire Nigeria, eventually. That historically incendiary article of yours was dedicated to deriding the Igbos and projecting them in the harshest light you could turn on them. The reluctance of our youths to take out time to read and research on issues as sensitive as this one is partly to be blamed for the wide acclaim which that cheap article of yours has gained.
Dear Femi, the Igbos are not interested in ‘controlling all’ and ‘gaining all’ like you clamed in the 2013 article, but they have some of the most endowed people in all the professions and trades the world knows and if a level playing ground is allowed, they may as well take over everything and everywhere. That is what people like you fear. It is only because the system is somewhat skewed to favor some tribes against the others that made it possible for people like you to come out to gloat or even rub shoulders with the Igbos. The Igbos are far ahead of all other people in all things, if you want to quarrel with that, quarrel with Nature.
Saying that Nnamdi Kanu is the most credible and most courageous Igbo leader alive today and comparing that rabble-rousing, unintelligent hate monger with great Igbos like Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu and Nnamdi Azikiwe is not only insulting to the Igbo pride but also another way of pouring scorn on these two great Igbo leaders whom you had taken to the public space in the past to deride.
Lt. Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu did not jump out from nowhere to become an Igbo leader. He did not go out to grab a microphone and begin to spread hate against other tribes and deride other Igbo leaders before he became the Eze Igbo gburugburu. He did not become an Igbo leader by claiming it, but he was chosen as an Igbo leader by the Igbos after a long and verifiable history of sacrifices and personal interventions on behalf of the Igbos. Ojukwu became an Igbo leader in recognition of who he was, in recognition of whom he had developed himself to be, in recognition of his strategic standing ups to those who want to oppress the Igbos. Ojukwu became a Nigerian leader, before he became an Igbo leader. In Igboland, people do not impose themselves on us as leaders, we choose those we want as leaders and they must merit such honour. To be regarded as a leader by the Igbos, you must have a history of personal sacrifices, like Ojukwu who almost liquidated both his father’s and his personal wealth fighting a war to stop the annihilation of the Igbos, which people like you wished for. Ojukwu sacrificed a blossoming career in the military just to save the Igbos, he was already the Governor of the entire Eastern Region, which comprises about ten States in present day Nigeria. He stood a chance of becoming the military head of State of the entire Nigeria, if he played cards with the Gowon government and looked the other way while his people were being massacred. He did not see war as the only option, but proposed many peaceful ways to avert the war which consumed millions of casualties from both sides. He was in exile for more than ten years and on his return he did not start fighting those who betrayed him or resume another episode of rhetoric on the actualization of the sovereign State of Biafra but took the most intelligent step at the time, which was to reintegrate his Igbo people into the mainstream politics of Nigeria. Ojukwu did not pursue any agenda that could favor him, but as a leader he thought for the people and took the most courageous and most workable steps to ensure the best for them, notwithstanding if such step is the most popular. Nnamdi Kanu has no such history. He is just a young man who is crazy about being popular and got some people to donate money for the setting up of a guerrilla radio station in faraway United Kingdom with which he spread hate and brought lots of enmity against the Igbos and among the Igbos.
You do not cease to use any opportunity to deride Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. How can you relegate the Zik of Africa to just a sectional leader? The first ever Governor-General of an independent Nigeria, the first ever President of the Nigerian State, the man who ignited the fire of nationalism across Africa, one of the most detribalized Nigerians to have walked this surface. A man who saw the Yoruba as much his brother as his Onitsha kinsman, a man who was exposed to the cultures of almost all Nigerian ethnic groups and spoke Hausa even before he learnt Igbo, then spoke Yoruba as fluently. There is no basis for comparison between these two Nnamdis except for your intent on insulting the Igbo race and cheapening their prestige. This other Nnamdi is a dropout from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and he is not known with any profession, except political activism. By my checks, political activism is not supposed to be anyone’s main job, but something you do in addition to your main job and financial mainstay.
Kaduna Nzeogwu on his part was one of the most respected military officers Nigeria has ever produced. He, unlike Nnamdi Kanu did not start off by taking up microphones to announce hatred against the system and its operators, but he notched up an idea, thought through it, took his time to refine that idea, brought few people into it and carried out the plan without much noise. While he does not qualify as an Igbo leader, as the project which brought him to limelight was not sanctioned by the Igbo, yet posterity deems it an insult to compare such a fine and articulate soldier with a man who did not as much as keep a jack-knife anywhere but took to the internet and radio to call for war. Our mental health professionals should take such a man in and analyze his situation well. Nnamdi Kanu has only achieved setting up our gullible youths for massacre in the hands of overzealous Nigerian military men. It won’t be out of place to call Kanu, an enemy of the Igbo people. For you cannot find a worst enemy than the man who charges you into war without providing you with any weapon nor has he made any plan for your safety, such a man is an enemy and a betrayer.
World history is replete with individuals who sacrificed their comfort, wealth and even ambitions to fight for their own people. These people do not start by taking to the airwaves to announce their coming and proclaiming themselves the ultimate saviors, and the only qualified leaders. They start working surreptitiously, they make moves, connect to sensitive places, sour things up a little at some point and sweeten up things at other points, then the world takes notice and announces them. most of these fighters started off from their days in school. Freedom fighting is not a skill you pick along the way, it is a trait you are born with. It is a trait most of those who have it, try so hard to suppress, but they cannot, because it entails living your life for others and maybe dying without being appreciated.
The comparison between your meeting Nnamdi Kanu and Fidel Castro meeting El Che or Che Guevara is the most outrageous impersonation I have come across in my young life. You are obviously well read, so there is no chance you do not know the history of these two great revolutionaries. I can safely claim that you were intent on internationalizing your mischief.
Fidel Castro started off from the day he could differentiate white from black to be a revolutionary and a freedom fighter, yet, he did not just jump out from nowhere to declare himself the director of Cuban Liberation Movement. He understood the need to reach out, to align and to prepare well for the task ahead. He started off as a student union activist and militant, ran for elections in school and failed, handled rifles, understood that revolution does not just happen by merely wishing it. He knew that media propaganda is one of the aspects of the instruments needed to achieve a desired political and revolutionary aim, he did not delude himself by thinking that getting the attention of the media is the only thing you need. He prepared himself well through good education, traveled far and wide to learn more from comrades across and within the border, established strong political affinity with Eduardo Chibas and his political Party, Paritido Orthodoxo, voraciously read essays by Karl Marx, Lenin, Marti, Freud, Kant, Shakespeare, etc. Fidel did not like the way Cuba was being run, but he did not start off by dismissing all those who have rose their heads politically, as misfits, pedophiles, terrorists, murderers, cows, ndi ofe mmanu, Hausa born bastards and all such cheap invectives. He based his struggles on ideas and pursued discernible and tangible goals for the freedom of the oppressed. He started off giving inspiring speeches, not hateful speeches that targets nothing. He stood on the side of the Cuban people and rose to prominence on the platform of getting them the best deal possible. He was of a wealthy background and married his first wife from one of the wealthiest families around. He could have decided to play along with the system and got to the apogee of his career, but the revolutionary traits in him could not allow that. He even divorced his first wife, Mirte, because she took up a civil service job with the government of the day. Fidel surmised his motivation and history of the struggle in the following words; “I joined the people; I grabbed a rifle in a police station that collapsed when it was rushed by a crowd. I witnessed the spectacle of a totally spontaneous revolution… [T]hat experience led me to identify myself even more with the cause of the people. My still incipient Marxist ideas had nothing to do with our conduct – it was a spontaneous reaction on our part, as young people with Martí-an, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist and pro-democratic ideas.”
Che Guevara on his part was of Argentine descent and had a rich antecedent in the struggle before teaming up with the Castros (Fidel and Raul) to make the Cuban revolution a success. He was first of all an established and respected physician, military theorist, diplomat and author. He was radicalized by the poverty, hunger, deprivation and disease he witnessed during his lengthy travels across South America as a medical student. He was deeply involved in moves to topple administrations that were seen as oppressive or back by the exploitative West. His meeting with the Castros in Mexico was bound to happen as the three men were united in the course they were pursuing, but have been kept apart by distance. He joined Fidel Castro’s 25th July Movement and continued with them till they were able to oust the dictatorial administration of Fulgencio Batista, after which he took key positions in the government. His ideas about releasing nations from shackles of poverty did not die with his holding government positions, as he had to relinquish his position as a top government functionary to join the revolution in Bolivia. This struggle was to eventually consume him as he was captured by Bolivian Armed Forces and executed as a terrorist.
Could you please, dear Femi, let us know where you or Nnamdi Kanu can be compared to these two great men. Are you Fidel Castro or are Che Guevara? We do not forget in a hurry that you have been in politics for the past thirty years of your life and it won’t be wrong to blame you for most of the troubles Nigeria is facing today. You have been so many things in this country, including beign one of the top ten men in this country whose words were taken seriously by the President. If you were Fidel Castro you would have resigned like he did when Manuel Urrutia Lleo deviated from the people oriented principles on which he climbed to power and if you were Che Guevara, you would have relinquished your position to join the ordinary people on the streets of Nigeria who were crying blue murder during the oppressive administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. I do not like to talk about Nnamdi Kanu because I see him as a mere rabble rouser who has nothing to offer the Igbo race, but noise and hatred.
You mentioned that you have had close associations with notable Igbo leaders, but you give much more accolade to Nnamdi Kanu because you do not see him as a man who can ‘prostitute with his principles’. Whatever that means. I do not know how a meeting that couldn’t have lasted more than three hours would have afforded you the opportunity to place such a strong judgement on a man you confessed not to have met before. Yet, you want us to believe that you are not a man who is too fast in trusting people?
Igbos are not lacking leadership. In all spheres of life, we have leaders who can hold their own against any leader in the world. It is true you had dismissed us as ordinary traders in an earlier write-up, but I can assure you that there is no tribe not just in Nigeria but across Africa that can compete with the Igbos when it comes to industries, entrepreneurship and businesses, generally. We hold the ace in all this, that is why you are bothered that we could go to anywhere in the world, including Lagos, where you are also a tenant and we direct the tempo of business there and everywhere else. In sports, entertainment, and all other sectors of the Nigerian life, we are not in competition with any ethnic group for leadership. Our sons and daughters are standing tall.
We determine if a leader is credible and courageous by the pitfalls he or she has had to survive. Nnamdi Kanu is an issue today because of his ill-advised arrest by the Nigerian Department of State Security. He knew that that was the only way he could become relevant and the world could take him a little serious hence, he set the security agencies up to detain him. Unfortunately, they fail for it and today his news is on the front pages, even though he has reportedly made offers to denounce the struggle in return for his freedom.
A credible and courageous leader is not the one who says he is such, but the one who takes actions, relentlessly to protect his people. The one who leads the people to take the right decisions, the one who sees the future before others and takes actions in order to ensure that his people are not taken unawares when that tomorrow comes is whom a leader is. Nnamdi Kanu is more or less an onlooker and a leader must not be an onlooker, a leader should be the one whom every other person looks up to.
In present day Nigeria, there are more than ten million Igbos who qualify for the Number one Igbo leadership position before Nnamdi Kanu, but there is only one man who qualifies as the most credible, courageous and most visionary political leader of the Igbo people, at least for now. That man saw where the pendulum of power was swinging to long before most other Igbo people and began a movement to ensure that all other Igbos teamed up. There were so much propaganda and lies in the air at the time, yet, the man was able to mobilize appreciable support for the new Party in the Southeast hence giving us some bargaining powers. Do you imagine what would have happened if no Southeastern State was able to produce a governor? We would have been done for by now. Today, the governor of Imo State and the chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum is using his position well to negotiate for the Igbo interest, including reaching out to the presidency to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu is released to return to his family.