When the news came in suddenly online, last week, to the effect that the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was scheduled to re-appear before Justice Binta Nyako at the Federal High Court in Abuja in what was described as abridgement of time application for a fast-forwarding of trial not a few Nigerians had thought that Kanu’s freedom was nigh. Those ‘celebrating’ in advance were given a rude awakening at the end of the day however.
Kanu’s leading lawyer, Barr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had approached the Court with an application seeking an order of the court to accommodate the trial in November and December this year as against the earlier January 19, 2022 date set aside by the court for resumption of hearing.
Following the recent high-powered visit of some Igbo greats led by the First Republic legislator and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock tongues had started wagging as to possible amnesty or presidential grace for Kanu who is facing trial for treason and other criminal activities. The nonagenarian and other statesmen and men of God on the delegation had implored the President for a political (rather than a military) solution to the Kanu saga.
President Buhari, while confessing the difficulty of the situation and acknowledging the constitutional separation of powers, had nonetheless promised his guests that he would consider their demand. The embattled President must have been humbled by that particular supplication.
So on that day many Nigerians had wrongly believed that President Buhari had intervened presidentially (prior to his departure abroad yet again) by prevailing on the judicial high command to give Kanu a soft-landing by granting him bail.
While the Department of State Services (DSS) did not consider it propitious bringing Kanu to court Justice Nyako objected to the fast-forwarding of the trial ruling instead that the matter would come up for hearing on the 18th rather than 19th and 20th January next year as previously scheduled. Besides, the court cited crowded pending cases as basis for its inability to grant the wish of lawyer Ejiofor and co.
Recently, grandpa Amaechi and His Grace, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, had gone to the DSS detention facility in Abuja to see Kanu. Their intervention may not be unconnected with the underground ‘politicking’ aimed at freeing Kanu from his solitary confinement and consequent psychological torture he is enduring daily.
And another controversial politician with dubious intentions, ex-Governor Orji Uzor Kalu (OUK) was also reported to have visited Kanu behind bars. OUK as a politician of fortune is seen generally in the South-east as a compromised corrupt unprincipled power-hungry businessman who ventured into politics as a sure source of self-aggrandizement.
Over time post-governorship of Abia State he had had his days in court and served a quality time in prison for economic crimes valued at millions of Dollars! Even his successor, an estranged ‘godson’, Theodore Orji, is also accused of looting Abia state treasury during his 8-year governorship.
Today OUK is a free man, the Chief Whip of the Senate; he is hobnobbing with another executive crook in Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, towards the 2023 presidential poll. The latter, the godfather of Lagos politics, had recently visited Kalu at his residence in Abuja!
The OUK and MNK interface in Abuja had been denounced by both lawyer Ejiofor and the IPOB management. They frowned at the surreptitious way and manner Senator Kalu gained access to Kanu in the DSS office without the presence of his lawyers. They equally flayed the statement Kalu issued following his interaction with the IPOB champion.
While Barr. Ejiofor challenged Senator Kalu to tell the world how he went in fraudulently to talk things over with their client IPOB via a statement issued by Spokesman Emma Powerful had declared that Senator Kalu would be held responsible should anything untoward happened to their incarcerated leader.
Accusing him of being one of those that “bankrolled and sponsored the extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria” the Powerful statement querried Kalu’s mission and the reason for the visit.
Senator Kalu’s intervention, given his credibility deficit, would have little or no impact on the protracted struggle for the Biafran nationhood. Elder Amaechi’s own intervention is bound to produce positive result.
Months ago the Onitsha-based ‘prophet’ Chukwuemeka Ohanaemere (aka Odumeje) had prophesied that Mazi Kanu would be released well before Christmas promising to celebrate same with him in person. He said so as he hosted lawyer Ejiofor in his church. But now that Yuletide is around the corner, weeks separated from now and then, it remains to be seen how Kanu would enjoy Xmas a free man in Onitsha or Afaraukwu-Umuahia.
For Mazi Kanu, therefore, spending the Yuletide inside the DSS gulag remains something terribly plausible unless a miracle of extraordinary proportion operated by God (or devil!) happens sooner than later. He may not believe in Christmas as a worshipper of Judaism yet Kanu deserves freedom before the rest of us celebrate the glorious birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, come December 25th.