If you had even the faintest glimmer of a 2G connection this weekend, then chances are, you caught wind of the attack on former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by purported members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nuremberg, Germany.
In videos replicated on social media, one of which had 31.7k views at last count, we saw as the politician was pelted with eggs and dragged from all sides while he attempted to honour an invitation to give the keynote address commemorating the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention.
The question is:
What Would Make Nigerians Do A Thing Like That?
Look, we’ll be the first to admit that politicians aren’t in the top 10 or 10,000 of the average Nigerian’s faves. They’re overpaid, they skim off the top — even on video, they use godawful catchphrases during elections (#NextLevel?) which, coincidentally happens to be the time they tend to remember regular Nigerians exist.
But is that enough reason to beat them up in public and displace their hats?
Nope! The answer you’re looking for is definitely NO.
According to IPOB, their grouse with the former Senate leader lay in his alleged support of an institution that tagged their organisation a terrorist body i.e the Nigerian government. This, together with the charge that he dared visit Germany to celebrate a New Yam Festival, when his kinsmen were being attacked back home by alleged herdsmen.
Are these claims founded?
To the Indigenous People of Biafra, a secessionist group — absolutely.
While the emancipation of Biafra from Nigeria remains the bedrock of IPOB, the former Deputy Senate President has at many points called for a restructuring of the country. Restructuring aims at a strategy to bring government as close as is possible to its people.
The literal opposite of what IPOB hopes to achieve.
But, it’s understandable that a government official has a stance that is pro the unity of a country, as opposed to its piecing apart.
On the matter of his performative visit abroad while attacks run rampant back home, Nigerian farmlands, villages and communities have been the subjects of incessant attacks by groups alleged to be herdsmen. Igbo states like Enugu being no exception. Very recently, it suffered the loss of Reverend Father Paul Offu at the hands of assailants suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
However, while anger at a politician making arguably unnecessary visits abroad, despite the safety of kinsmen back home is at stake is very understandable, it should never come to the point where physical attacks on his person are resorted to. It is beyond abhorrent behaviour.
How is Ekweremadu holding up?
Better than you would expect actually. While his ego and maybe even certain body parts have been considerably bruised, he isn’t letting the attack fuel a vengeful agenda.
In a press release on his Twitter profile, Ekweremadu had this to say:
“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency and the media as well as rallied the South-East Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I, nevertheless, do not hold this to heart against them, for they know not what they do.”
Way to be the bigger man!
So is this the last we’ll hear of politicians being attacked abroad?
Well, going by a statement released by IPOB, that would be a no.
According to the organisation’s spokesman whose very real name is Emma Powerful —
- Governors David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Willie Obiano of Anambra state better stay in their domestic lanes and steer clear of foreign sojourns because IPOB members worldwide have been directed to attack them on sight.
Violence is never the answer, can somebody please page IPOB this news, before they do something unforgivably stupid?