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IPOB Is Using The Politics Of Fear To Manipulate Ndigbo By Churchill Okonkwo

May 15, 2019

Igbos allowed a bunch of lazy men in IPOB to operate as tribal leaders who arrogated to themselves the title of “Supreme Leader”. Hoodwinked, many Igbos stopped thinking.


Fear is a very strong tool that can change human behavior and blur our logic. It is a disease that eats away at reasoning and makes man insensitive. There are several reasons for this. One is that logic is slow; fear is fast. In situations of danger, real or imagined, we ought to be fast: First run or kill, then think. Historically, tribal demagogues have always weaponized fear and used it to manipulate and intimidate communities.

IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu clearly understand this. They have, thus, mastered the skill of using fear to circumvent logic across Igbo land. They have hijacked the higher-brain capacity for critical thinking and reason of many Igbos. IPOB’s onslaught of sub-rational manipulation using fear, dangerously wrapped with tribal sentiments has impaired the judgment we need as Igbos to navigate multicultural Nigeria.

In every media campaign of misinformation and outright lies, therefore, IPOB craftily works on triggering the emotions of Igbos. If they are not warning us that the Yorubas will betray us, they are raising a false alarm on the onslaught of Usman dan Fodio army from the north. The real danger of succumbing to IPOB’s fear mongering is that after a while, the immersion in our tribal loyalty makes the activities of every other tribe not just alien but close to incomprehensible.

Per Les Brown, fear does not have any special power unless you empower it by submitting to it. Unfortunately, for years, Igbos submitted to IPOB’s fear mongering ideology. Igbos allowed a bunch of lazy men in IPOB to operate as tribal leaders who arrogated to themselves the title of “Supreme Leader”. Hoodwinked, many Igbos stopped thinking. We pick signals from IPOB’s internet warriors. Slowly, we winnow our acquaintances to those who will reinforce our worldview. So, we all became vulnerable.

The intellectual elites in Igbo land, including Ohaneze Ndigbo rather than being a key rational bloc resisting this manipulation of the enigmatic Biafran Spirit, surrendered their minds to fear. They succumbed to the manipulation of tribalism by frauds in IPOB.

It is shameful that we allowed IPOB to use our tribal vulnerability to manipulate us. By irrationally “ordering” Ndigbo to “sit-at-home” as they wish, the lazy men behind IPOB have succeeded in using fear to block our logic. The same Igbos who will sheepishly “sit-at-home, will turn around and lament when the same mediocre in IPOB decrees that there will be no election in Igbo land. 

IPOB understands that fear is a static that prevents us from hearing ourselves. Because fear is not a good teacher, the lessons of fear are quickly forgotten. So, even though IPOB failed woefully in the Anambra election boycott, they deployed the same strategy and told us to boycott the 2019 presidential elections.

We turned around and blamed Buhari for “setting him free.” We forgot that we had accused the same Buhari of killing Nnamdi Kanu a couple of months back. Then, like a confused chicken, Nnamdi Kanu quickly reversed gear and ordered us to vote for Atiku claiming that “terms have been met, signed, sealed and delivered”. Like zombies, some of us sheepishly hailed him. Shameful.

What should Igbos do to restore reason? How do we stop IPOB’s partisan tribalism from poisoning our politics and derailing our unhindered progress in Nigeria?
The first thing we must do is; stop beating a drum with an axe like IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu.

IPOB’s political strategy based on fear should be seen by all Igbos as a lengthened shadow of ignorance that has consistently presented illusions as realities. It leads to anger. The anger, in turn, leads to hate; with hate in our hearts, we make a political miscalculation. Then we fear political retribution and the vicious cycle goes on.  

As Igbos, we should convince ourselves that there is something out there in Nigeria that is more important than fear. The fear of living together with dozens of other ethnic groups in Nigeria will not go away. The fear of being cheated by other tribes in the Nigerian political and economic realms will not go away.

However, as warriors, Igbos should embrace the code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day and bridges built across the Nigerian political landscape.

To succeed, we should start living our dreams and stop leaving the fear used by IPOB to envelop our reasoning. For example, Igbos who approached the Lagos State governorship election under the atmosphere of fear and the misleading assumption that Tinubu and APC will swallow them failed. On the other hand, Igbos, motivated by the need to form an alliance with a candidate that openly sought their support, succeeded.

Finally, a child who is afraid of the dark could be forgiven, but, when a man becomes afraid of light, then, there is a real tragedy of life.  Fear, as packaged and delivered by IPOP on our collective ethnic sensitivity, is a deadly thing. It is sinister that has warped our judgment and frozen our reflexes. Worse, it's contagious. 

To keep excelling, Ndigbo must move against IPOB’s imposition of fear on all of us with the weapons of faith and love. With love, our best efforts at economic, social, political and educational endeavors across the Nigerian landscape will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest.  

Ndigbo should not succumb to the politics of fear by the naked men in IPOB who are offering us clothes. To gain strength, courage, and confidence, we must do the things which IPOB out of fear has made us believe we cannot do.

Together, we can.

You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi