by Alexander O. Onukwue
One of the key points in the remarks made by Prof Wole Soyinka recently was about the misconceptions in construing clamours for restructuring with movement for disintegration.
“We know there are movements for secession; let Buhari and others go and address this separately. This should not be mixed with the demand of a nation for reconfiguration” the term now chosen by the Nobel laureate to describe the issue of restructuring. “People should stop answering the demand for secession by pretending to answer the demand for reconfiguration,” he said.
This would seem to apply directly to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the controversial movement inspired by Nnamdi Kanu whose influence has made him into something of an enigma. Apparently, he has become too problematic for the Military, leading to an alleged invasion of his residence.
“To try and suggest that the moment you say ‘restructure’, you are calling for disintegration, is for me, intellectually dishonest, that is not the issue at all” Soyinka said, before the event of the said intrusion occurred.
Though Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB have based their campaigns on the need for a referendum that will separate the South East from Nigeria, some analysts have observed that he had been an advocate of restructuring for a while and particularly any form of disintegration. Their preferred tactics of demonstration, spreading sit-at-homes and making threats does not win them the friendship of many, but it is not totally unreasonable that this could be Kanu’s way of pushing the restructuring argument.
And maybe it is yielding some fruit: the APC have begun its meetings on the definition of federalism, and one can hope the conversations proceed with honesty, welcoming diverse perspectives, even of Kanu and his group.