By Ochereome Nnanna
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article
entitled: Sit-at-home: drawing the line.
The general purpose of it was to advise organisers and managers of the current Igbo struggle for freedom and human dignity to avoid overstepping their bounds and losing grassroot support.
I wrote it in full affirmation that the Igbo struggle is a just and noble one. It is right to ask for justice, failing which you fight for your freedom from a system that hates you and holds you and others in chains.
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The Igbo nation’s political “Last Man Standing”, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, recently disclosed that there are over 30 “Biafra” separatist groups in the South East.
He should know, because he is in touch with the people he represents. However, out of the many, there is always the one.
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, stands head and shoulders above the rest.
It has, over the past six years of Muhammadu Buhari regime, demonstrated that it is a genuine grassroots mass movement through its (a) street rallies and (b) sit-at-home strategies.
Most of the Igbo nation’s humongous worldwide Diaspora networks are loyal to IPOB and comply with directives of its Directorate of State, DOS, in the physical absence of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
IPOB has also established the Eastern Security Network, ESN, a bush-based vigilante network whose job is to defend Igboland against armed, murderous and terroristic “herdsmen” seeking to take over the ancestral patrimonies of Igbo people.
This step was adjudged necessary because the Nigerian state chose to be on the side of the invaders and killers rather than defend innocent, law-abiding citizens.
When the Nigerian constitution and flag fails to protect the citizens, it is only natural that a person under attack should find ways to defend himself.
Allowing someone to be attacked and preventing that person from defending himself, or sending the armed forces against people defending themselves, is hate governance.
That is what the Igbo nation is facing today. That is the most challenging aspect of the Igbo struggle under the Buhari regime.
Unfortunately, we have a coterie of jokers who call themselves governors and chief security officers in the South East. After failing to defend their people, they still prefer to fight those defending the people.
That is why they have lost the loyalty, command and control of the people. That is the magic behind the success of the sit-at-home phenom.
To whom much is given, much is expected. Having gained the minds of the grassroots, IPOB must now put on the thinking cap of wisdom.
In order to retain the people’s loyalty and support, it must put the people first – what the Nigerian state and the South East leaders have failed to do. The road to freedom is usually long and littered with many obstacles. It takes years. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
Freedom can come either in the shape of a reformed Nigerian commonwealth where the aliquot parts are allowed to run their affairs with minimal interference by other members of the Commonwealth, or outright independence.
The peaceful and nonviolent method is tested and trusted. That is my preferred approach. Nonviolent struggle against injustice and oppression, subject to self defence when attacked by terrorists seeking to dispossess me of my land.
As an Igbo, I plead with IPOB and its cohorts to look into two important matters. The first is the “sit-at-home” passive resistance.
The second is the “no-election” issue. As I noted in my earlier article, “sit-at-home” should not be abused. It should not be too frequent.
No day of the week should be dedicated to it. Otherwise, it will tamper with the people’s economic, education and political livelihood. There will be starvation.
People will become poorer and blame it on IPOB. Children’s school programmes and exams will be frayed, and IPOB will be blamed. IPOB will now be seen as being anti-people.
The worst form of “sit-at-home” which must never be contemplated is the “permanent” one, as we hear. We hear that it will be ordered if the Federal Government refuses to produce Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in court at the next hearing date.
You can be sure that the Buhari regime will like the permanent “sit-at-home” to go into effect because it will surely backfire against IPOB.
Why play right into the hands of your enemy? In any case, what manner of people’s interests are you projecting when you force them to stop earning a living? Without the people’s support, the struggle will collapse, and the Fulanisation agenda will succeed.
It will become difficult to restart the “freedom agenda” in the foreseeable future.
The second matter is the “no election” call. That is another way of shooting yourself on the foot. It beats me hollow how anyone thinks he can stop elections in Anambra State or any part of Nigeria.
Until Biafra comes, we are still Nigerians to the core. We don’t like the 1999 constitution. It is part of our struggle to get rid of it and get a better one that sets the people free to enable them work out their future. But for now, it is the rule book we have.
Attempting to stop the November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election is as futile as trying to stop the River Niger from entering the Atlantic Ocean.
The River will enter the Ocean, perhaps with the dead body of the person trying to stop it. People will be needlessly killed and property avoidably destroyed. But a governor will emerge.
Because you stopped the people from going out to vote, the governor who will emerge will be the choice of the enemy, not the people.
He will rule to please the enemy, not the people. Let Imo State be a lesson.
The “sit-at-home” must be sparingly and wisely applied. The Anambra election must hold.