By Ori Martins
I am very sure most Nigerians of adult age may not be conversant with the name Ali Bhutto. He was the prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s. His daughter, Benazir Bhutto was also a prime minister and was the first woman to lead a Muslim country in modern times.
Ali Bhutto was re – elected in 1977 as prime minister and by then there had been a widespread envy and propaganda against him as his family had been among the most powerful even measured well among the ruling elite in Pakistan.
Therefore, following the crisis that greeted the 1977 general elections, Bhutto’s enemies and opponents sponsored and encouraged army chief who was promoted and appointed by Bhutto, General Zia ul Haq, to take over government. In the process, Bhutto was overthrown and arrested.
What followed was a kangaroo trial of Bhutto which was condemned by the entire free world. But Zia ul Haq would not listen. Bhutto was condemned. Appeals by international community for Zia to spare Bhutto were totally ignored. And so he was hanged on April 4, 1979.
As nemesis would have it, Bhutto’s gang in government struck and on August 17, 1988, Zia was assassinated in a most controversial circumstances in a plane crash.
The similarity with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is, before Bhutto was assassinated, the Pakistani authorities which had been too harsh and hostile to him suddenly became friendly. They allowed his lawyers, doctors, political associates and family members to start visiting him. It was as if he was to be freed – it was all decoy. In the end, he was brutally hanged.
It was the same master plan that was adopted on Chief MKO Abiola in 1988. Abiola who had been in detention for declaring himself president after the annulment of the ill fated June 12, 1993 presidential election, was set to regain his freedom following the death of his traducer, General Sani Abacha, could not make it eventually as he slumped and died while family members had gone to Abuja to embrace his freedom.
You can glean connectivity from the treatment of Bhutto and Abiola and the recent court of appeal judgement that freed Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as well as its subsequent handling (supreme court appeal) by the Federal Government of Nigeria. May Kanu not be given the Bhutto and Abiola treatment.
On the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, things have been moving on well for him. He is the rave of the moment. Majority of the polls conducted on the 2023 presidential election have favoured him.
Meanwhile, in the event that the Federal Government proves political pundits wrong and Nnamdi Kanu is released before the February 25, 2023 presidential election, Obi will be biggest loser.
Remember the NPN led – federal government played this same card en route to the 1983 general elections when President Shehu Shagari granted presidential pardon to General Chukwuemeka Odumegwuu Ojukwu. Ojukwu came back to Nigeria from Cote d’Ivoire and astonishingly started campaigning for NPN.
Ojukwu’s huge presence in NPN caused troubles for Zik’s NPP as many Igbo people who were hitherto of Nigeria’s People’s Party abandoned Zik and followed Ojukwu to NPN. The terrible negative effect was that the Igbo bloc that was predominantly Zik’s base was severely depleted – to the unbelievable extent that Zik’s NPP, because of Ojukwu’s influence, lost Anambra to NPN. And so, Jim Nwobodo lost the governorship election to NPN’s C C. Onoh.
The import here is, the release of Nnamdi Kanu will count against Obi. This is so because Kanu will come back to South East and start the Biafra agitation. Of course, many Igbo will see reasons with him, abandon Obi for president and rejoin Kanu for Biafra Republic.
The idea is to replicate the 1983 game plan in order to reduce Obi’s strength in the South East and in deed the entire federation because Ndigbo are allover Nigeria.
Already, there are many Igbo youths who are now angling for Biafra as they explained that even if Obi wins, stays for eight years in office and rescues Nigeria as he has been promising, they argue that they cannot guarantee what will happen when Obi leaves office. Therefore, their best alternative is to continue with the Biafra Republic struggle.
ThIs is the cross of Ndigbo: what happens if Obi is denied being president in 2023? ThIs continues after my birthday bash. Thank you God almighty for keeping me alive.