Ralph Uwazurike during his time was released to bury his mother and from there, he never went back to the prison.
Sunday Igboho was released few weeks ago to take care of his health and may likely not return to the prison.
Nnamdi Kanu will get his release as soon as Buhari hears his plea or he convinces him that he will go and sin no more. Whether Buhari will listen and believe him again having been betrayed before remains to be seen.
Conditions were given to Kanu which he agreed for bail in 2017. But he betrayed Buhari and neglected conditions of bail Buhari gave him. Hard to get Buhari’s heart again but there is no harm in trying.
These actions are not hard; they are the easiest decisions to make in government. Containment is the best approach to an ideological question; so; to release already contained secessionist is the finest thing that could happen to a government.
When a government arrests a secessionist; the plan is not to get rid of him or imprison him indefinitely, rather, it is to contain him or positively manage the situation.
But to achieve this; the agitator must surrender and that was Sunday Igboho’s situation. Sunday Igbo ultimately agreed to deescalate and stop what he was doing; once you make peace with Nigeria; you regain your freedom because the reason for the imprisonment was to break you. Being killed like Ken Sarowiwa is not ruled out in extreme situation.
While fielding questions from journalists few months ago; Muhammadu Buhari said Nnamdi Kanu was still misbehaving and as such, nobody should disturb him over his release.
It was a clear message from Buhari- surrender and go home or continue your business and die. Immediately; IPOB- DOS under the command of Nnamdi Kanu began to quickly deescalate and called off all forms of protest to release Nnamdi Kanu. To please Buhari; they even went further threatening to physically deal with those enforcing sit-at-home protest for Nnamdi Kanu’s release.
They went further to release numerous press statements telling the government of Muhammadu Buhari that they are ready to embrace peace and calling for dialogue cum political solution- which was a sign of retreat.
Perhaps, Nnamdi Kanu can no longer be trusted; so, verbal concessions could not be enough to convince the presidency- they needed more than words.
The main barrier Nnamdi Kanu has remains how to trick the people into believing he is still there and fighting while surrendering everything to save his soul. Kanu needs to be as controversial as possible to avoid losing his cash cow (IPOB members)
One of the options was to controversially exit as the director of radio Biafra to show he has surrendered but while going about his surrender, IPOB is trying to make it discreet to avoid losing the support of the few left with them.
Nelly Ofoegbu was used to test the water; by renaming Biafra to Idu; so Nnamdi Kanu could have a legal edge over Nigeria and also help his release but that appeared counterproductive, hence he decided to remove himself from IPOB directorate to show commitment towards his surrender.
There is practically no way out for Nnamdi Kanu. He is at the mercy of the Nigerian government and his only option is to do what others did. Allowing the government capture him was his worst mistake.
Igboho has done his own like many others did; but Nnamdi Kanu might find it hard for his plea or repentance to be accepted because he betrayed the trust the government had in him before.
He may need to show more than others showed that they have surrendered. Removing himself from the position of director is one but it might need public announcement of surrender to convince Buhari to release him.
Nnamdi Kanu got to the point he had to admit there was nothing anybody could do about his predicament except surrendering to finding a common ground.
Through DOS; he shunned every move by his members to fight for his release because the fight would be fruitless. For him; it is better to align with the government than trust in the people’s ability to fight successfully.
Achieving Nnamdi Kanu’s release is not a rocket science. His biggest mistake was to be caught in a lawless country like Kenya and brought back to lawless Nigeria.
Legal battle is as fruitless as it has been over the years of Nigerian existence. Igboho has been released; he agreed to play to the gallery and Nnamdi Kanu could be released if he agreed to play to the gallery.
Nnamdi Kanu is DOS and this is why Simon Ekpa of Autopilot is finding it hard to move the train of the struggle forward. Kanu has derailed through his DOS to save his life and Simon Ekpa cannot do anything about it except to fight disjointedly.
Nnamdi Kanu would go a long way before his plea could be accepted by the government- to release him. He must prove to Muhammadu Buhari that he has totally and sincerely surrendered before his release could be considered.
Exiting as director of Radio Biafra is one of the visible and big concessions he must make to be released. If not; the gate to life imprisonment or execution is as wide as the road to hell.
Ifeanyi Chijioke- Independent/Investigative Journalist
Writes from Enugu
Address: [email protected]