By NBF News
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I read Ishaq Modibbo Kawu's column of July14, 2011 entitled 'The Commentator's Burden' in which he descended heavily on Ochereome Nnanna for challenging his viewpoint in an earlier write-up. Kawu accused Nnanna of being a Biafranist in the said article because of his perceived anti-North/ Islamic sentiments.

In the first place, it is doubtful whether Kawu is a Marxist as he claimed in that piece. He sounded more like a Marxiologist. I believe by Biafranism Kawu meant the agitation for the creation of Biafra which is currently being championed by the Movement for the Actualisation for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB.

Although, I am not aware Nnanna is a member of MASSOB, I do not understand under which of Nigeria's law's the agitation for self-determination could be categorized as treasonable as was done by Kawu.

For his information, the right to self determination is one of the group rights provided for by the United Nations Charter and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. Nigeria is a signatory to both documents.

Apart from the UN, even karl Marx (1818-1883)- the father of Marxism- in one of his writings urged English workers to support the agitation for self-determination by Irish nationalists. Vladimir Ulyanov otherwise known as Lenin who led the Russian Bolshevik revolution of 1917 argued along a similar line in his book entitled The Right of Nations to Self-determination.

So, how can agitation for the actualisation of Biafra be a treasonable offence? If the agitation by members of MASSOB for self-determination is an offence, why is it that not one member of that group has been successfully convicted for treasonable felony despite the fact that thousands of them have been dragged before numerous courts across the country?

If Kawu is a theoretically clear-headed Marxist, who studied philosophy and political economy in the old socialist German Democratic Republic, GDR, as he claimed, what is his view about the massacre of scores of MASSOB members who so far have adopted a non-violent method of agitation?

What is his view about the pogrom against Igbos which also led to the Nigerian civil war? If he is not guilty of the same ethno-religious bias which he accused Nnanna of, how come he is canvassing for sympathy for Boko Haram, a terrorist organisation which has butchered so many innocent people, including women and children?

If he is not an anarchist, how can he express sympathy for a group which is clearly out to make the country ungovernable? Between MASSOB and Boko Haram, which of these two groups could be regarded as guilty of subversive activities clearly aimed at undermining the state?

Kawu also advocated for dialogue with Boko Haram. How can there be dialogue with a faceless group?

Or would he be the link man to fix the venue and time for the dialogue? Does Kawu want officials of the Federal and state governments affected by the menace of Boko Haram to fold their arms and watch as these terrorists unleash mayhem on helpless Nigerians in Borno, Bauchi and Niger states, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and other parts of the country ?I also wish to observe that Kawu did not entirely debunk Nnanna's position that he knows little or nothing about the former Eastern Region which today has been split into the South-Eastern and South-South regions of the country.

Apart from his brief interaction with Cyprian Ekwensi, Kawu could not mention his acquaintance with any other individual in the South-East or South-South regions of the country. He claimed he speaks six languages and understands four others; I suspect all those languages must be foreign, of course, including English, German and Arabic!

Finally, despite the fact that Kawu claimed he had been committed to the welfare of the poor and the working people of this country all his life, it is debatable whether somebody with his petit-bourgeois antecedents could be trusted as a leader of the working class. This is because so many individuals who in the past made similar claims are today ministers and holders of other high political offices in the ruling party. What are people of this ilk currently doing for the working people and the poor of this country?