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By Victor Anazonwu

After nearly a year in office, it is safe to say that on the matter of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, you, Mr. President Bola Tinubu have chosen your path. On the strength of evidence available in the public domain, you have chosen to continue on the tracks laid by President Buhari. As President and Commander-in-Chief, you are well within your rights to decide based on security reports available to you. But whatever advice he gets, a leader takes full responsibility for all decisions and outcomes (good or bad) under his watch. 

If you permit, Mr. President, I wish to add these few words of counsel to the bulging files I’m sure are sitting on your table concerning this subject:

  1. There is no profit in inheriting someone else’s enemies – even if that someone else is a spouse, parent, sibling or close associate. This is because a third party cannot be proxy to the full range of forces that created an enmity in his absence. Better to make our own enemies by ourselves.

2. There’s no evidence that Nnamdi Kanu has done or said anything  that millions of other Nigerians have not wished they did or said. That includes you, Mr. President, having once identified with NADECO to oppose injustice under military rule. Nigeria has not ceased to be an unjust state. Not since Biafra. Not since Sani Abacha. So, in a sense, Mr. President, every Nigerian is now a Biafran. Incarcerating anyone who calls out injustice in Nigeria is double injustice. 

3. Nnamdi Kanu is a political prisoner – like Nelson Mandela and MKO Abiola – not a common criminal. Hiding behind the law and a spineless judiciary to keep such a man in the freezer indefinitely fools no one. It only underlines the reality of our insincerity and postpones the evil day. Only a political solution can resolve a political problem. The earlier you apply that solution, the better for us all. The longer you delay, the higher your risk. You have picked up a live grenade with the pin pulled off, Mr. President. You can’t afford to treat it like a toy. 

4. Both Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igbogho committed similar ‘offenses’ under Buhari. They were outspoken against a brazenly insensitive dictator. Today, Igbogh is back in the country and walking free. Kanu is still in detention. By this very fact, you have become guilty of double standards, Mr. President. Any leader who wishes to succeed must avoid that like a plague.

5. Beware of the counsel of those who either consider Kanu as a rival or sleep better with him behind bars. They mean no good. They are using you to buffer their private insecurities or further their petty ambitions. They will leave you high and dry if the shit hits the fan. 

6. Be wise and seek peace with all men, especially those who have not wronged you directly. Nnamdi Kanu is not your enemy. He may even be your ticket to statesmanship. Don’t miss that chance. You may find it useful someday.

I wish you well, Mr. President.

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