NNAMDI KANU…SON OF THE RISING SUN
How he shutdown South East May 30
By Willy Eya and tunde thomas
“Live the life of your dreams. Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose instead of the expectations and opinion of others. Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. Don’t let the limitations of others limit your vision. If you can remove your self-doubt and believe in yourself, you can achieve what you never thought possible.”
Enter Nnamdi Kenny Okwu Kanu, the new kid on the block. The above quote by a great thinker, Roy T. Benett captures the power of vision and self-belief, which the British-Nigerian political activist now represents. He is a man of the moment and hate or love him, his name has got stuck in the minds of the majority of Nigerians. And perhaps no name in the country today rings a bell like that of the prisoner of conscience.
Surprisingly, before now, Kanu who doubles as the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and director of a London-based radio station, Radio Biafra was literally unknown in Nigeria. But out of the blues, the Abia State born activist became a household name when on October 14, 2015, he was arrested by the agents of the Federal Government, the Department of State Security (DSS) in his hotel room, Golden Tulip Essential Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State on treason charges. He was thereafter detained in jail. His arrest and detention marked the beginning of the making of today’s Igbo hero. Many would agree that since his arrest on that fateful day, the popularity of the young man with a heart of steel has soared like an eagle.
The man Nnamdi
Kanu was born in Isiama Afara, Abia State, Nigeria. His father is Eze Israel Okwu Kanu and his mother Ugoeze Nnenne Kanu. He attended Library Avenue Primary School (now part of Government House, Umuahia) and went to Government College Umuahia for his secondary education. The freedom fighter later gained admission to the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), where he could not finish due to incessant strikes before he left for London to complete his tertiary education. By 1987, Nnamdi was merely an innocent Geography major, resident at Akintola Hall of the UNN. Not given to half measures and as one of those gifted in the pursuit of their dreams, Nnamdi’s path would prove to be thorny, uncommon and epochal. It is little wonder that he did not have the patience to tarry along with other normal students before going abroad for his studies.
While in London, Kanu became an activist and freedom fighter with the sole aim of liberating the people of Biafra who he believes are being oppressed in Nigeria. One of the greatest instruments he deployed to achieve that dream was the Radio Biafra with which he continuously lampooned the Federal Government. A man of his conviction, he took his activities to the extreme and did not pretend that he could even pay the supreme price for the liberation of his people. The IPOB leader was once quoted to have said he is an Igbo Jew, part of a group who believe they are descendants of the lost tribe of Israel who settled in West Africa.
Speaking ahead of the 50th anniversary of Biafran war to Al-Jazeera despite being banned by the court not to grant interviews, Kanu had made it clear that the demand for the secession of Ndigbo from Nigeria is because the nation seems not to be functioning and can never function.
He decried the marginalisation of the Igbo in Nigeria, saying that they have been prevented from aspiring to assume important positions in the country. Kanu like in the words of Philip Brooks, believes that, “no man has come to true greatness who has not felt that his life belongs to his race, and that which God gives to him, He gives him for mankind”.
Hero or villain
For Kanu, many believe that heroism was thrust on him by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration following his arrest, detention and eventual release on bail. The news of the arrest of