I had intentionally shied away from this topic.  My esteemed and teeming readers know how pretty busy they and I have been on the Ozubulu massacre and sundry other knotty issues.  Interestingly, the lugubrious  Ozubulu incident has taken another dramatic twist, but that is story for another day.  Today,  our attention goes to one of the notable elders in the "South-South", a man that has seen it all - in and off the khaki.  He is no other person than Elder  Edwin Clarke,  an illustrious son of Ijaw nationality in "Niger Delta". (The emphasis on Niger Delta and South-South is deliberate and connotes their political origin) 

Elder Clarke started off as a military officer, one of the few high-ranking officers from this politically and economically excluded part of the contraption and Lugard's gift to the North called NIGERIA.  Elder Clarke may not be able to disentangle himself from the rope of intractable corruption in Nigeria, since we all know that the military junta is responsible for the economic mess Nigeria has become.  Today,  however,  our illustrious son,  having supped and quaffed with our regional oppressors,  subjugators,  and transgressors,   is an "elderstatesman". Yes,  he is one of those that call the shot in the political cum geographical region referred to as Niger Delta.  But that is not the raison d'ĂȘtre for this piece.  Our minds would have remained cast on other burning issues,  especially those that concern the agitation for restoration of Biafra, had our "elder" not joined the fray in impugning Director Nnamdi Kanu,  the man on a mission to do what all our elders lacked the hardihood to. 

Like most concerned Nigerians, the piece from our illustrious son,  Pa Clarke, ordering for the arrest of Director Nnamdi Kanu,  came as a shock.  As an attestation to my befuddlement,  I had to read the link again and again to be sure that he uttered that most worrisome order. I found it very hard to believe that someone from my own region - whatever it is called - could bring himself to make such order in total disregard of the plight of his people.  I think these self-styled elders in our various regions are amazing. What has Mazi Nnamdi Kanu done to warrant Pa Clarke's incendiary remarks and arrest order?  Is Mazi Kanu among those who used the  Land Use Act to grab the natural resources of the oil-bearing states in Nigeria?  Is Kanu the reason the centre takes 100% from us only to return paltry 13% as allocation? Has Pa Clarke,  as elder, ever done the maths needed to ascertain the correctness of the 13% derivative? I ask because what our states receive from the centre is not the correct computation based on 13%. Does Pa Clarke and his co-elders know that the handlers of Nigeria have been stealing from us?  How is Kanu his problem? 

I am impelled to see Pa Clarke's pillory as an act fanned by deep-seated jealousy.  And why not? "This young man,  this small boy,  this newbie that calls himself Nnamdi Kanu cannot become the VOICE of our two regions just like that!" That, the way I see it,  is the mindset of our elder.  Our elders are self-seeking, haughty,   and self-gloried people.  For them, the attention they get is more important than the people's wish. Pa Clarke is worried that the hero of our time, Nnamdi Kanu,  has become someone leaders from our region Nicodemusly go to see in their bid to escape Nigeria.  Yes,  Ijaw leaders and prominent youths hold meetings with Nnamdi Kanu,  and this unsettles our dear elder.  But why is he perturbed? He has been elder for a very long time with absolutely nothing to show for it.  A brother from Pa Clarke's community told me that he is fabulously rich.  Another said "our Pa Clarke is very old, but not too old to enjoy fame and wealth." I think I get the picture now.  The fear of being dwarfed, of being rendered to the background.  Bingo! There it is.  Should our elder not be happy that a son like Nnamdi Kanu is doing what no one dares? 

We all love our elders, but when they begin to exude exuberance that pertain to youths and adolescents,  one begins to look for a new definition for the word,  "elder." Those of us that think outside the traditional and conventional box know that age is not wisdom.  Pa Clarke is clearly older than Nnamdi Kanu,  but what matters to us now is not age but CHARACTER and CONDUCT.  Asking for the oppressors of our people to re-arrest someone that has given up his sovereignty and love for the niceties of life in his bid to stop the oppression of our collective peoples is not elderly at all. Asking that the suppressors re-arrest Kanu in furtherance of injustice is anything but ELDERLY.   Pa Clarke has just confirmed our fear, viz. OUR REAL ENEMIES ARE THOSE WITHIN.  Taking it out on the saviour in lieu of the aggressor makes our elder  an aggressor in the hood.  What does our Pa Clarke really want?  How many Fulani herdsmen ravaging our region has he ordered to be arrested?  Between Mazi Kanu and Nigeria who is the real enemy of the "South-South"? Is it the one working hard to remove us from the fangs and claws of oppression of those responsible for the ALIENATION OF OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS FROM OWNERSHIP OF OUR NATURAL RESOURCE? Who is our enemy,  and when will our Pa order for their arrest?  

Our Pa Clarke should take it easy.  He is too old to be allowing his temper fly off the handle.  Pa is not the young soldier he used to be many years ago.  It is time for him to sit some issues out.  He was a young man many years ago.  Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a young man today.  If no one stopped boy Clarke from becoming Pa Clarke, then no one can stop Nnamdi Kanu. Nnamdi Kanu's terse response to Pa Clarke's avoidable shot shows that as we age,  we become children again  before we join our Maker.  Our elders should leave us alone.  We have relied on them for too long.  We expected them to lead us out of Egypt, but were shocked at their rise from squalor to opulence.  These elders that claim they are fighting for us reside in posh houses and operate from cozy offices. They scream with us and go behind to take contracts from our oppressors.  What have our elders done to better our economic and political lot?  Our elders should leave the youths to fix the problem. It is time to end this redundancy.  We cannot continue to approach our regional challenges the same way and expect a different result.   How old was Martin Luther King,  Jnr when he excited the Montgomery Bus Boycott?  How old was Nelson Mandela when he first challenged apartheid? How old was Adaka Boro when the Kaiama Declaration was made?  Malcolm X was a very,  very young when he sought to change the living conditions of his people. Were they elders?  Yes,  they were,  but it was not a matter of their age. People loved them for their transformative ideologies.  The youths in our region must wake up from their slumber.  Enough of this docility!  

Dear Pa Clarke,  where is your TRANSFORMATIVE IDEOLOGY? Show us your blueprint for development of the "Niger Delta". Does our Pa Clarke have one? Do our body of "Niger Delta" elders have any projection capable of halting our political  and economic oppression and alienation? Dear elders,  what plans do you have to end youth restiveness and truancy in our region?  I have gone through Mazi Kanu's blueprint for our region.  We are doing more work on the blueprint. 

Please,  leadership is earned, not acquired.  Mazi Kanu is young,  but his consciousness and vision make him very,  very old.  Like Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X,  he is an elder of a superb substance.  It is time for dysfunctional leaders in the Eastern region to take the backseat.  Pa Clarke should note that apprehending our new leader will not stop the agitation. We shall continue to push until all forms of mistreatment of our people end.  The real elder is the one with the ideas.  Our elders should stop belittling Nnamdi Kanu.  This jealousy, or whatever it is, is not needed.  What we need is freedom.  Biafra,  it is clear,  has what we need.  Our leaders should continue to meet our Igbo brothers and sisters. Let the discussion continue.  

Nigeria,  I reject thee. 
Biafra,  I passionately yearn for thee.

Russell Idatoru Bluejack is a thinker,  revolutionary writer,  university tutor, and socio-economic and political analyst that writes from Port Harcourt
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