As a prelude to this downbeat essay, I wish to state that I am an unrepentant advocate of election boycott as a passive protest against, a tacit rejection of a vicious State like Nigeria.
It is my stance that wherever and whenever a State resorts to intimidation, use of military force, and outright extermination of non-violent agitators, a sublime means of agitating for the extrication of the victims from the thralldom suppression and oppression, two strangleholds of the State, should be adopted.
The May 30 sit-at-home exercise was a litmus test for something much more effective. No illogicality is committed if I say the May 30 sit-at-home is the forerunner of the proposed Anambra State Guber Election boycott.
However, seeing that this project has generated a cacophony of discordant reactions from the Biafra rank and file, I am impelled to do thispostmortem. I crave your rapt attention as I take off.
STRENGTH OF THE IMMINENT BOYCOTT
The ripples that has greeted this proposal is understandable, considering the fact that the election is few months away – November 2017. To many a thinker it is urgent and dicey, hence the need for caution. Interestingly, the bulk of these perturbed lot comprises the unlettered vis-a-vis the trajectory of revolutions that are forced by the operators of a violent regime to toe the path of civil disobedience.
Of course, when occupying the streets becomes dangerous to the lives of civilised protesters in a clime that unjustly proscribes civil protests, voluntary withholding of mandate becomes an effective option. I will go ahead and do a three-pronged excursus on the strength of the proposed boycott viz. political, constitutional..
Politically speaking, the proposed boycott will divulge the person to whom the fealty of Anambraians belong. This, I make bold to say, is the fear of both Abuja and Anambra seasoned politicians.
A successful boycott has the potentiality of retiring totus simul (once and for all) all the ineffective self-styled and self-acclaimed political bigwigs that dot the political atmosphere in the most vibrant eastern state in Nigeria. The bewilderment that came as aftermath of a very successful sit-at-home exercise, one that has cloaked Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous Peopleof Biafra (IPOB), in glory, is yet to go. The political gladiators, at home and in Abuja, are still nonplussed about the ne’er total response to the call. The response to Kanu’s call has simmered down as disrespect for political offices in Nigeria. The deprave politicians in Anambra and Nigeria doubt whether they can take another one that is billed to be more devastating.
The boycott will make a huge mess of the national and state political configuration as follows:
* the tenure of the incumbent governor gets extended indefinitely, making his government illegitimate;
* the winner will emerge only if the 2/3rd compliance of eligible voters in the register is met.
* even where a winner unjustly emerges from the poor turnout, the government becomes a de facto, illegitimate government; and
* the oppressive Federal Government of Nigeria will be forced to militarize the state before the full glare of international communities, an act that will end up making Nigeria a political bete noire in the comity of nations.
A successful election boycott poses austere danger to politics in Nigeria, will boost the confidence of secessionists and facilitate referendum for Biafra Republic.
Constitutionally speaking, a successful election boycott will expose the chink in the armour of the gloried Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) document we wrongly refer to as Constitution. Yes, this proposed boycott will give us more reasons to commit the military documentto the bin, for if it had originated from the people, it would have envisaged what is in the offing. It is also my submission that the so-called Constitution, having failed to capture the possibility of a situation like this with its attendant solution, falls short of the minimum standard requisite for acceptance as grand norm.
A successful Anambra Election boycott will exhume the hollowness of our constitution and reinforce the call for peaceful secession vide internationally-observed referendum. Furthermore, it is a truism that a self-caused disenfranchisement is not unconstitutional. Those who have said it is unconstitutional for Director Nnamdi Kanu to give such directive are the ones unconstitutionally constitutionalizingthis passive form of secessionist activity.
Would those throwing invectives rather that more Biafran agitators lose their precious lives doing it the conventional way? Or is it constitutionally permissible to shoot at unarmed agitators?
The legal outlook on the call for election boycott does not reveal anything unlawful. No law is breached by the directive, for just as it is the unassailable right of an eligible voter to cast his vote during an election it is even much more so for him to, on the basis perceived aggression, withhold it.
Disenfranchisement becomes legally actionable only when its cause is external to the eligible voter. To buttress my stance, it is wrong to force someone to give his fillip to an electioneering process. Credibility of the candidates and tranparency of the electioneering process are the real determining factors behind overwhelming support.
Participation in election is by conviction and perceived ECONOMIC and POLITICAL INTEGRATION, not INTIMIDATION or FIAT.
Director Nnamdi Kanu’s call for election boycott does not run afoul to any rule or breach any extant law in Nigeria. His can be likened to that of the politicians who make use of specious promises at campaigns. I think the razzmatazz and brouhaha about this legal call are most unwarranted. If the politicians are free to schmooze about why they should be voted for, Director Nnamdi Kanu, as the leader or his people, is imbued with the right to direct his people aright. What is sauce to the goose is sauce to the gander. I guffawed when someone said she would drag Director Nnamdi Kanu to the UN over his directive. That will be an exercise in futility
THE WEAKNESS AND CONCERNS OF ANAMBRA ELECTION BOYCOTT
There are those who think the proposed boycott has some booby-traps to be looked into and possibly circumvented. My inbox is bursting at the seems with such concerns. Some concerned persons mistake FEAR for CONCERN.
I am not jiggered because Nigerians are yet to come out from the doldrums. Ours is a protracted submissiveness to military junta that was interrupted by providence. No one can doubt that we would still be full of panegyrics in the midst of glaring oppression, impoverishment, and political and economic disintegration had late Gen. Sani Abacha not died.
Recall that all those that posthumously condemned him were the same people that lauded him. I am not surprised that most of the ones concerned about the impending Anambra Guber Election boycott were the ones excoriating all previous governments in the state. Let us see the purview of their fears.
1) That the boycott will discredit Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and adversely affect the struggle for secession.
The concern above is a manifestation of ignorance. The boycott is itself a passive orchestration of rejection of Nigeria’s political structure. It is a very risk-free way of protesting against Nigeria and all she stands for. The success of this directive, which will move the international communities to mount pressure on Nigeria for referendum, should be the concern of every victim of political and economic inequality.
2) That the boycott will give the ruling party, APC, the opportunity to take over Anambra State Government House.
This assertion above is wide shot from the tenets of revolution. No true revolutionist movement is affected by politics. The boycott is a lucid rejection of the political structure. In the eyes of Director Nnamdi Kanu and his ardent IPOB followers, all the political parties in Anambra State and in Nigeria, by extension, are unacceptable, since their existential template, Nigeria, stands rejected.
3) That the boycott will cause serious political crisis in the state and, possibly, a declaration of state of emergency, which will militarise the state.
The boycott is a non-confrontational way to cause turmoil in the political structure of both Anambra State and Nigeria. A declaration of state of emergency by the Nigerian State out of exasperation will be the coup de grace needed to prove that Niger has been rejected and continues to exist against the wish of the people. Those that fear that a state of emergency will breed brutality, mass arrest, and drive the final death knell on the Biafra project have failed to see that no one is taking to the streets.
How the trigger-happy uniformed men will be able to pull the trigger on empty streets and roads is beyond my ken. Those engulfed by palpable fear of the unknown should not forget that this passive modus operandi is borne out of Kanu’s concern for the safety of his people. As a humanist, even walled by the dinghy prison where he was unjustly locked up, he was disconcerted by the number of people whose lives had been cut short by the uncouth demeanour of Nigerian armed forces.
4) That Director Nnamdi Kanu should plant a governor of his choosing, using the overwhelming support from the IPOB.
My reaction to those making this stupid call is vehement. In my candid and dispassionate opinion, those behind this call are mercenaries on a mission to bring the towering global popularity of Director Nnamdi Kanu to a ridiculous state. You cannot reprobate and approbate regarding the same object of concern. The IPOB is against the continued existence of its people in Lugard’s precious gift to the North called Nigeria. Any participation in Nigeria’s election renders its chance for referendum a wishful thinking. The IPOB must be resolute in their bid to show that Nigeria and whatever she represents are outside the set of acceptable things. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s forthrightness deserves the accolade of every true son and daughter from the political, divisive entities referred to as South-East and South-South all whom have been the victims of the predator called the North.
The IPOB under the aegis of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has proven to be the most formidable mouthpiece and pathway to freedom from our collective oppressors. Revolutions the world over have always been about one leader. Poland, South Africa, Indonesia etc typify nations which freedom were conceived by specific revolutionary minds.
Ours is a shared consciousness that has come from Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the Voice that became body, soul, and spirit for the onward unjust imprisonment for two years. He has shown what it takes to be a leader. He submitted his royalty, freedom, and all the niceties of life to our collective oppressors for our sake.
It is our turn as the collectively victimised to return the favour for the sake of our children and their own children. We collectively see him as our sole leader and shall queue behind him.
Henceforth, whoever says anything contrary to what this gift the Almighty God has bequeathed to us should be treated as a foe. We must work together as a team led by one captain. They say our Igbo brothers and sisters have buyable conscience. I urge you all to prove them wrong. Let us use the Anambra Election Boycott to rebrand the Igboness of the Igbo man.
God bless Biafra
God bless IPOB
God bless Nnamdi Kanu
God bless the old Eastern Region
God bless the writer
Russell Bluejack is a thinker, revolutionary writer, university tutor, and socio-economic and political analyst that writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.