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Bite Of The Frustrated and The Miscreant


I have always thought that history is the best teacher. I know a lot of people who believe this.

But I am beginning to doubt. But if you still believe, then, you are with your thoughts locked up

in eternal masturbation. Something teaches us better than history. I am yet to understand what

that thing is. But I am certain it is not history.

I say this with regard to the rising agitation of pro-Biafra groups. For several weeks, these people

have protested in the states of the south east and south south. In doing this, they have exercised

their right to peaceful protest as a means of conveying their grievances. So far, there have not

been violence associated with the protests and street marches. However, within this context,

there has been a deluge of condemnation and name calling. There have been invectives poured

on the youths. I have followed most of the tantrums against the protesters. Am I angry at such?

Not at all! This is Nigeria. Anyone who looks into our past will know why Nigeria is still the sort

of country it is: we don’t work to find solutions to problems. We rather play the ostrich and wish

the problems away like they do not matter.

If we are a people that study history, and think through the progression of struggles for

emancipation, we would have realized that struggles of this nature, all over the world, are fed by

youths who had become alienated from society and from life. It has never been driven by people

of comfort. All they need is a trigger and the flames go up. Yes, it is true that the Pro-Biafra

youths are frustrated as some had argued. It is also true that they are misguided and unrealistic as

many also say. They are also confused miscreants and some say still. But the best fuels for

violence are frustrated youths who are also confused, misguided, unrealistic and alienated. Those

are the factors that made Yusuf Mohammed a reality. Out of his frustration Nigeria got a gift

–Boko Haram. Out of Gani Adams’ unseriousness we had the violent branch of OPC. Out of

Asari Dokubo’s misguided views, we were handed a Niger Delta Peoples Liberation Volunteer

Force. Out of Raph Uwazurike’s frustration with his country, Nigeria was gifted a MASSOB

(Movement for the Actualisation for the Sovereign State of Biafra). The outcomes are with us.

Those outcomes are a result of government mismanagement of their frustration, miguidedness,

alienation, unrealistic confusion etc.

I recall a meeting of media executives with then Director General of SSS, Chief Press Secretary

to the President and the Information Minister in 2006. I was present. The SSS boss narrated how

he had separately ‘arrested’ Uwazurike, Adams and Dokubo and brought them to Abuja. (I

remember that Dokubo had a red carpet and was specially flown in a Presidential jet). He said

that after investigations, they were all found to be jobless and frustrated people. Specifically, he

said Adams was just a misguided roadside carpenter. He said Uwazuruike was involved in a

husband and wife thing that had no followership but looked more like a swindle. He also said

that after some days ‘detention’ at Nicon Hilton (as it was then), they were all cautioned, and

then, given some money to “go home and don’t make noise again”. That was what the SSS boss

told editors as how he managed the situation. The effect? OPC, MASSOB and NDPLVF

blossomed. NDPLVF eventually had splinter groups and created several “generals of the


Our history tells us that Yusuf Mohammed started his outreach as The Talibans about 2008 or

even before that. Then, even security experts dismissed him as a frustrated young man who was

seeking food to survive. Some even said he was unserious. The Federal Government ignored

him. In all, we forget the Shakespearian dictum that there is no fury like that of a woman

scorned. But these are no women. They were young men who wanted to prove a point and as

such their fury could be stronger. And they did. Yusuf proved his in a more painful manner after

the state exterminated him in cold blood.

Today, the pro-Biafran agitators are asking for one thing: release Nnamdi Kanu or state his

offence and charge him before a court. I don’t think this is too much to ask for if we are indeed

prepared to nip what may become another tragic development. Government must realize that

continually ignoring such demands stokes the fire. An infiltration by renegade groups, seeking

the next battle front, may change the equation. Therefore, delay is dangerous.

Nnamdi Kanu gains popularity and followership the more governments keeps him in detention. It

was same way that Gani Adams, Uwazurike and Dokuba gained popularity to the shame of

government. I recall the reception Adams and Uwazurike received at the Lagos airport each time

they arrived from any of their detention sessions in Abuja. Such situations could be, and should,

be avoided. But with the way government is handling this matter, there is a body language

suggestion that government is daring the resolve of frustrated, alienated, misguided, confused

and economically traumatized miscreants. Again, if we look back into history, we could draw

lessons to know that such agitations don’t end with only a group of people. If it inflames, more

groups will catch the bug.

Let us not forget that in liberation struggles, even the most comfortable group, find reason to

protect itself. It become such that the decimation of the weak attracts sympathy from groups who

may see opportunities for trade. No one ever wants a war after seeing the effects in Liberia,

Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya etc. But history tells me that except for the Iraqi

Invasion, no war is planned. The plan is developed afterwards.

I am certain that none of the pro-Biafra protesters want a war. None of them is prepared for a

war. Nigeria does not desire it. No Nigerian desires one too. T if we look at it critically, those

misguided, frustrated, confused miscreants, as some have called them, may be taking advantage

of an established power norm which seems to say that unless you make some discomforting

noise, Nigeria will not take you serious. An Igbo adage says unless a young man acts like a mad

man, his family won’t get him a wife.



– By   Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu

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