Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has “directed” his supporters in the Nigerian Community Germany Football Club (NCG FC) Hamburg to change the name of the sporting association to IPOB FC Hamburg.
“I am directing that Nigerian Community Germany Football Club Hamburg be renamed IPOB FC Hamburg,” Kanu announced on his Facebook page on Thursday.
IPOB, with millions of supporters in Nigeria and across its global diaspora, is a group advocating for a separate nation state for the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria.
NCG FC Hamburg, a member of Hamburg Sport Bund and Hamburger Football Verband – both affiliated to German Football Federation, is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural football club whose membership is open to all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnicity, religious belief or region of origin.
“I am also glad that this formidable family of IPOB have successfully collapsed the Nigerian Community nonsense meeting in Hamburg. I expect the same thing to happen all over the world,” the IPOB leader added, in reference to the association of Nigerians in the German city.
However, a check of the website of NCG FC Hamburg on Friday morning shows that Kanu’s directive has not yet been carried out and there is no announcement of the club’s intention to change its name to IPOB FC Hamburg. Attempts by this writer to contact officials of the club for their position on the issue have not yet succeeded.
Kanu explained his position as a continuation of IPOB’s determination to disintegrate Nigerian associations all over the world. “What we need is IPOB, Oduduwa (Oodua) Igbo, Efik, Urhobo, Igede, Idoma, Igala, Izon, Ibibio, Annang, Efik, Ikom, Ogoja etc,” he said, referring to the different ethno-national groups making up Nigeria.
“Our move now is to collapse everything to do with the Zoo all over the world. Anywhere you see anything to do with Nigeria (Nigga-area) make sure you undermine it,” Kanu called on his supporters, who form a formidable constituency in the global Nigeria diaspora community.
IPOB agitates for Biafra, a sovereign nation state for the people of south-eastern Nigeria, and has persistently called on the Nigerian government to organise a referendum for the people of the region to decide if they would like to remain part of Nigeria or prefer to have their own country. President Muhammadu Buhari has always said the unity of Nigeria was non-negotiable.
The declaration of independence by the region in 1967, forming the short-lived Republic of Biafra, sparked a 3-year civil war which left more than a million people dead.
There is widespread discontent in Nigeria as a result of the perceived political marginalisation of the rest of the country by the northern Muslim elite, to whom Buhari belongs. Attempts by successive governments since the end of the war in 1970 to create a sense of national belonging in all sections of the country have largely been unsuccessful.