In Every Oppressed Lives a Kanu 


The biblical Moses was a mass murderer. Gentlemen don’t come meeker than Jesus, or Buddha, the Christ, yet Jesus was said to have got so exasperated at some point with the system in the synagogues that he flipped a table. He eventually changed the religious configuration of the world for better.

Conformity and subtleties have rarely cut it with dysfunctional systems and their purveyors. What panacea have our more cultured countrymen not prescribed for the Nigerian system? How many national conferences have we not convoked? What has it availed?

History has often been changed by those who dare to be different in their approach and perspectives. An uncouth Nnamdi Kanu just made history where our taffeta countrymen failed to make an impact. It’s a rogue and pyrrhic succeess alright, but a good trigger for holding talks.

Every family finds use for the black sheep sometimes. It’s only the rascally who can break the taboo and eat of the food sacrificed to the gods and prove it harmless. Nnamdi Kanu has become a metaphor for that untamed, suppressed child in you that pops up when you’ve had it to your elastic limit.

One may envy his guts and wish he spared us the hate speeches which also targeted other innocent victims. The South West, the long suffering South Central region, the Middle Belt and even some sections of the North are equally yoked with this ponderous and undynamic Nigerian system, just as the South-East. Only that the rest of us have accepted our fate with seeming equanimity, lest the applecart be upturned. We would rather fall on our backs and bare our throats to vandals like the Fulani herdsmen so that peace would reign and Nigeria may continue as one indissoluble sovereignty. We may grumble in our bedchambers but manage a straight face in public and make politically correct statements then sit back in consolation to count the number of persons that like our facebook posts. Rather a hypocrite than offend the status quo.

It is the same way that Nigeria’s northern elites secretly empathise with their Arewa youths but publicly condemn them for verbalising what we all know are equally the elites’ secret position or machination. This house must not fall though its foundation rests on quicksand.

Similarly, our churches have continued to sweep the debris of gratuitous attacks on them under the carpet and turn the other cheek. They prefer to pray to God to touch the hearts of our evil leaders to get their sums right.

But how much has changed over the decades?

Until the Niger Delta youths took up arms and took to the creeks it was easier squeezing water out of the rock than squeezing a Goodluck Jonathan into the corridors of Aso Rock or getting the current sitting president to listen to their demands.

Today who remembers NADECO’s Radio Kudirat? Its broadcast content wasn’t exactly love ballads but mostly potshots at the the infamous military dictatorship of Sani Abacha. Was it effective? Yes. Of course they stopped short at hate speeches and divisive rhetoric.

During the 1960s the ANC in South Africa resorted to arms struggle when their peaceful protests failed to achieve the desired result to end the apartheid regime. Margaret Thatcher of Britain and the government in America declared ANC a terrorist organisation but failed to put adequate pressure on Pretoria to effect reforms.

Pray, what’s to be expected when a system has a history of ignoring civil and lawful agitations for a review of the operating manual but would negotiate with, and grant amnesty to, militants with financial rewards to their tag?

Mr. Kanu has served a need; has plugged a gap, albeit in a rather unfortunate manner for which we share the blame. Our complacency and the inefficacy of our ‘peaceful and acceptable’ methods brought our shadow alter ego to the fore.

There is a Kanu in you too, but long comatose. So you can keep silent in the face of a tyrannical Nigerian system either for some gain, sheer cowardice or kindred spirit with the current Aso Rockers. Or, perhaps, erroneously and hopelessly, you join in believing that someday a non-existent auto correct mechanism will kick in. Or you may simply bask on in your desire to be ‘liked.’

Any which one, there is a Kanu in everyone.

For, as an African proverb states quite aptly: Even the buttocks can make a noise under pressure from within at the risk of bringing shame upon its owner.

Ernest Enobong can be reached on Facebook


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here