by Alexander O. Onukwue
Within the space of seven days, hundreds of cheering supporters rallied at Nnamdi Kanu’s house in Umuahia, a few dozens flocked around him while he prayed and paid homage at Umueri, and about three thousand people embarked on a march at Ahiara Mbaise to amplify their displeasure with the choice of Bishop made for them.
All of this happens within the scope of the Biafran agitation, so far sold as the only way to get Igbos out of the long oppressive union that has been the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
But it does appear that were it to take off today, Biafran leaders and its people will begin their nation building from points, not of agreement, but of disagreements.
Already, Nnamdi Kanu supporters are declaring him to be a bigger influence to Igbos than Jesus, a statement that stings when you consider that no other geo-political zone is most predominantly Christian in Nigeria than the South East. Already in play is a tussle over religious supremacy, as the viral comments by the Facebook user, Chukwudi Leo, was obviously exclusive of the Biafran sympathisers who believe and worship Jesus. It is known that Mazi Kanu would want his new state, if actualised, to be guided by the doctrines according to the Star of David, but the denigration, by his followers of the Root of Jesse leads to the inquiry as to what kind of nation they would hope to actualise.
And within the followers of Jesus, there is still the presence of discord. Not only is the South East a predominantly Christian zone, but the influence of the Catholic Church is very easy to detect. Ahiara in Mbaise has made international headlines for its frictions with the Vatican over the acceptance of the choice of Peter Okpaleke as its substantive Bishop. They have continued to reject Okpaleke, an Anambra man, on the assertion that he is one of the cabal from the Archdiocese of Onitsha, who they state have had a stranglehold of Church activities (read politics) in the South East. They don’t mind that the Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has mandated their Priests to write an apology to him before July 9.
While the push to leave Nigeria have been based on economic and political grievances, the impact and role of religion in the South East cannot be understated. Sociological studies reveal that Igbos are less easily ruled by recognised authorities than any other ethnic nationality in Nigeria. Yet, religious leaders have always had a way of piercing through to reach public opinion (see Mbaka, 2015). But the squabbles between proponents of varying viewpoints that have bubbled to the surface at the moment make for interesting observation.
If the opinionated concubines of this polygamous man are already laying equal claim to being first wife, how exactly will this marriage work?