At the launch of the so-called “Ghost Monday” initiative of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), at least 20 able bodied IGBOS lost their lives, vehicles owned by IGBOS were set ablaze and more than five billion Naira were lost by IGBO traders across the Southeast States. Most harrowing is the upending of the lives and educational careers of at least 200,000 IGBO youngsters, who might have to wait another year to qualify for the next stage in their educational pursuits. Some of them would have had their educational potentials permanently tousled. At least 90% of IGBOS whose lives, businesses and careers were adversely disrupted by this campaign did not willingly subscribe to either the agenda or methodology of the initiators of this sit-at-home. They were either compelled by fear of fatal violence or blackmailed into wilful ignorance to join this protest.
I had argued in an earlier output that the ISIS or some other extraneous terrorist sects might have infiltrated the Southeast and possibly hijacked an otherwise meaningful and even justifiable agitation. I hold this notion because most of the strategies so far adopted by some of those purporting to be working for the actualization of Biafra or campaigning against Igbo marginalization, are strange to Igbo culture and thinking. These strategies reek of an enemy invasion upon Igbo land. I am convinced that 90% of the operatives are innocently ignorant Igbos who are convinced that they are working for the interest of Ndigbo but are in the real sense destroying Igbo land and her people.
Before I go ahead to reel out my ten reasons for requesting that a total abnegation of the Mondayly sit-at-home by the IPOB, let me point out that the Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide leadership is unrelenting in its efforts to ensure that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu gets justice and that for no reason will or should his fundamental rights be tampered with. I also align with the position of majority of Igbo youths whom I represent, to request that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu should be unconditionally freed from detention. However, the Ohaneze leadership under Ambassador Prof. George Obiozor is going about this demand in very appropriate, diplomatic and far more effective ways and I will urge Igbo youths to key into that leadership and they can be guaranteed of some good results.
Now, to the points;
1. The sit-at-home is unpopular among Ndigbo: if the IPOB had a department of research, documentation and planning or something like it, they would have conducted a kind of opinion poll to appreciate the level of apathy that greets this idea among, even its most ardent sympathizers. The IPOB leadership must not misjudge fear as favour.
2. It is unsustainable: every new Monday will expose the unsustainability of this campaign. More people will have more pressing reasons to defy the order, every new Monday, and security agencies may record more successes in their efforts to quell the affront as the days go by.
3. It will negatively impact on the popularity of IPOB: Already, some of my friends who would not condone any question on the strategies of IPOB or the highly infiltrated ESN are beginning to question the rationale behind this idea. I was surprised when a friend of mine whom I know to believe that “IPOB is always right”, called me to express his frustration with the directive. He was particularly livid that he lost a contract he was supposed to close in Abakaliki that Monday, because he couldn’t find a bus to take him there. He ended the call with the words; “Hausa abatago kwa Awka.”
4. Nnamdi Kanu’s Family Has Disowned It: No matter how much anyone or group of people might claim to love MNK, the truth of the matter is that no one can love him more than his immediate family. His family wants him out of detention more than anyone or group of people. This family has said they do not support this strategy in seeking his release and anyone insisting on this strategy is either an enemy to Nnamdi Kanu or is a meddlesome interloper. The type of person we describe in Igbo as. “Obechu onye nwe ozu”.
5. It Is Ineffective: no government would bow to intimidation by any group of people, especially, when that government has already classified that group as terrorist, proscribed or illegal. If anything, this sit-at-home would further bolster government to increase its clampdown on the group and to strengthen its case of felony and terrorism against the detained leader of the group. If the IPOB truly wants to effectuate efforts being made by Ohaneze to secure the freedom of Nnamdi Kanu, the group must review its strategies, especially, as they relate to violence.
6. It is destroying Ala Igbo: Ndigbo are predominantly traders and any activity that would disrupt our trading activities and the economy of our zone is anti-Igbo. The sit-at-home order does not remove even a strand of hair from our supposed persecutors, but takes a maybe, irreversible toll on our self-built economy.
7. It Cuts a Negative Image of the Struggle: Before last Monday’s sit-at-home, a widely circulated information, purported to have come from the IPOB high command had threatened that “anyone who flouts the order, will have him or herself to blame.” Another widely circulated statement, purportedly, from the IPOB had also warned that anyone seen outside his house on the said day “will be sent to our ancestors”. After the sit-at-home and while reports of casualties were still trickling in, the IPOB through a statement from Emma Powerful, who is the group’s Media and Publicity Chief, thanked the ESN operatives for successfully enforcing the sit-at-home. On another breath, the same Emma Powerful made attempts to distance the group from the killings and destruction that greeted that Monday’s sit-at-home. If this continues, it will become more difficult to convince the international community or any reasonable organization for that matter that the group is not a terrorist organization. Please, the group’s leaders and their sympathizers may do well to reread what terrorism means.
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