Home Letters OPINION: Ndigbo, It’s Time To Rethink Your Strategy!!!

OPINION: Ndigbo, It’s Time To Rethink Your Strategy!!!

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There is a popular African proverb that says: “It requires a lot of carefulness to kill the fly that perches on the scrotum”. This saying is indeed what Nd’igbo should be telling themselves especially as the Anambra Gubernatorial election draws near, and more importantly the 2023 general elections.

In the recent past, the clamour for secession in Southern Nigeria has grown even stronger especially in the South East and South West regions of the country. A lot of reasons could be attributed to this clamour but it is instructive to note that this is not the first time that Nd’Igbo is asking to leave the Nigerian state.

Recall, this same clamour/agitation led to the Nigerian civil war of 1967, during which millions lost their lives and means of livelihood across the Nigerian state. Till date, the pains of the war are yet fresh in the minds and hearts of an average Igbo man or woman. Especially, when he recounts the things they lost during what some had described as holocaust.

In 1999, as Nigeria ushered in the new democratic dispensation, there also came the emergence of Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) which essentially is a secessionist group demanding the recreation of an independent state of Biafra through peaceful dissolution of the country.

The Federal Government tried to quell the agitation as there were several arrests of the leaders and propagators of the movement. There were even alleged reports of extra judicial killings of MASSOB members. This group has however fizzled out, and in its place today, we hear the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

According to the leader of the group, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB came to existence because it criticised the Nigerian Government for poor investment, political alienation, inequitable resource distribution, ethnic marginalization, over-militarisation and extra-judicial killings in the South-East.

Unfortunately, the Buhari-led administration did not make matters any easier when upon resumption of office in 2015, he said during an interview that “constituencies that gave me 97% cannot in all honesty be treated equally, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me 5 %, I think these are political realities”…. Sadly, this declaration set the tone on how the South East would view his government knowing full well that they voted for the opposition party.

We have seen how the Federal Government gave several excuses as to why they can neither proscribe bandits nor describe them as terrorists. Yet, we saw the ‘speed’ at which IPOB was proscribed on the grounds that it is a terrorist organisation. Things like these fiercely fuel the narrative of some people being more Nigerian than others.

With only a few days to the Anambra gubernatorial election scheduled for November 6th, it is becoming worrisome as to how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be able to conduct the election as it has been very difficult to even move around to campaign as groups believed to be IPOB members have called for the boycott of the election.

Prior to now, IPOB has almost institutionalised Mondays as sit-at-home days in solidarity with its leader, Kanu who is currently standing trial for treason and terrorism charges. This ‘order’ has led to huge economic losses as business activities are grounded every Monday.The determination to enforce this ‘order’ had led to loss of lives and properties. We cannot continue to “cut our noses to spite our faces” while calling for a just society. As the First Vice President of Nnewi Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NCCIMA), Chief Moses Ezukwo said, the development has robbed the zone of over N50 billion as at September, 2021.

It must be noted that the entire leadership (Governors) have not done the barest minimum in tackling the issues besetting them. As it appears, what they seem to be interested is their next political career/ move.

Because the EbubeAgu security project, was dead on arrival as it seems as though they had no plan of execution of it. And that explains why the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the military arm of IPOB seems to have thrived because there was a vacuum which needed to be filled.

I have often asked if OhanaezeNdigbo an apex Igbo socio-cultural group isn’t a ‘toothless’ organisation, how has it been able to articulate its position to the South East Governors and by extension the Federal Government on the agitations of its people? Beyond the contact meetings and sound bite communique being issued, I think it is time they set an agenda and this time follow it through by engaging with the relevant authorities.

The sit-at-home order has got to stop. Businesses, lives are being lost as your kith and kin need to start living their lives and not be scared of being labelled as a ‘saboteur’ as this has led to a few mindless killings. The Igbos cannot continue to alienate themselves from mainstream politics while hoping to produce the next president which they have been clamouring for since the return of democratic rule in 1999.

I sincerely hope the Anambra election be used as a litmus test to the restoration of sanity in the South East and while calling on the security to be responsible and professional in the discharge of their duties come November 6, 2021.

Ijeoma Njoku is a Communication Consultant and can be reached via: vaceejones@yahoo.com

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