By Collins Opurozor
All those interested in the progress of the Southeast have been worried by the insecurity in the region lately, and everyone has sought to situate the seemingly complex security challenge. Beneath the surface, crisis keeps simmering and peace still seems elusive despite the momentarily cessation of overt hostilities. And yesterday, BBC News Igbo interviewed the spokesperson of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Comrade Emma Powerful, who without equivocation called out Chief Hope Uzodinma as the only reason for the insecurity in the region.
“Hope Uzodinma did not offend everybody. He only offended IPOB. When we launched the ESN, did we attack anybody? Did we kill anybody? We were in the bushes and forests fighting the Fulani terrorists who kill our people and rape our women. Hope Uzodinma was the first governor to invite the military to come and kill us in Orlu. Our problem with him will not be easy to resolve. Some people are using him to kill his own youths,” Emma Powerful, IPOB Spokesperson, said.
In the quest for enduring peace in the Southeast, it is necessary to listen to all views no matter how extreme they may appear to be. The position of the pro-Biafra group on the insecurity in the region needs to be dissected and some questions asked from it. How has Uzodinma run the affairs of Imo state in these past eighteen months that made it impossible for him to resolve a minor crisis in Orlu which has now plunged the entire region into warfare? How has Uzodinma handled the widespread fear of possible attacks by armed herdsmen in Imo state?
If open grazing is the major driver of conflict and the people are apprehensive of its attendant bloodletting, what is Uzodinma’s position on the clamour for an anti-open grazing regime and why do cows still flood the major cities unchecked under his watch?
Why was Uzodinma so quick to blame his political opponents for the insecurity in the state when he knew he had some scores to settle with some diehard pro-Biafra agitators? By politicizing a very sensitive issue as the security of the lives and property of the people he claims to govern, has Uzodinma not admitted his own moral unfitness to lead a decent political society? In view of IPOB’s open indictment of Uzodinma as the cause of their fire and fury in the Southeast, is there any hope that the very same Uzodinma has any magic wand to restore peace in the troubled region?
In the last five days or so, Uzodinma has begun to celebrate and congratulate himself, ascribing the ostensible cessation of hostilities in Imo to himself. The truth is that the absence of conflict does not mean there is peace. There can be a situation where neither peace nor conflict exists. The question is: What exactly has Uzodinma done differently to bring about any glimmer of peace in the state? He has done absolutely nothing beyond threats of incarcerating, crushing and annihilating whoever he feels is after his disputed regime.
Before Uzodinma celebrates any further, he should be reminded that the moment of quiet being witnessed now could be as a result of the intervention of about twelve reputable Igbo organizations, including World Igbo Congress, ASETU, Alaigbo Development Foundation, Nzuko Umunna, Nkata Ndi Inyom, Igbo World Assembly, Igbo Board of Deputies, Ekwe Nche, Anioma Redemption etc., which met last Thursday in Enugu and demanded that no Igbo youth should carry out any attacks on Igbo soil going forward. As captured in the communiqué jointly issued by organizations, “The killing of policemen, soldiers and other law enforcement personnel as well as the burning of key national security and political infrastructure that have recently been witnessed in our land are very reprehensible acts which we totally and unequivocally condemn. Igbo culture abhors the resolution of any question through bloodshed. It is troubling that the progress which Igboland has begun to record with the launch of the Aku Ruo Ulo investment initiative has been rolled back through these very anti-Igbo activities.
“We therefore call on all those who indulge in such retrogressive enterprise to have a rethink and immediately retrace their steps in the overall interest of Ndigbo. The Federal Government and the leadership of the security agencies should immediately withdraw the very draconian orders given to security operatives in Igboland which have led to the ongoing profiling of Igbo youths, mass arrests, extra-judicial killings and human right violations in our land, especially in Imo State,” the communiqué demanded.
So, Uzodinma must never give credit to himself for the success of the genuine and patriotic intervention of these respected Igbo organizations. He must not also see this moratorium as an opportunity to continue to dance Makossa. If the fundamental reasons that sparked off the conflagration are not promptly addressed, we might be living on a borrowed time.
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