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With IPOB and ESN, Igbo need no enemy

With IPOB and ESN, Igbo need no enemy
October 06
11:54 2021

The Igbo people are some of the largest and most populous ethnic groups in Africa, and among the black race.

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Steeped in culture and tradition; rich history, and entrepreneurial drive; wherever an Igbo man finds himself, he dominates the environment, using his shrewdness in navigating the tricky world of business, not forgetting any element of his culture.

Known for their enterprising spirit, wherever you see an Igbo man, in his quest for survival, his business acumen strikes you first. That is why they are seen, feeling at home, (owing largely to the mobility of their culture), almost in every nook and cranny of the world. Some people use to say that, wherever you go and can’t find an Igbo man, it is most likely than not, the place is not suitable for human habitation.

An average Igbo man, at least the ones I have had the privilege of interacting with, are some of the most intelligent human beings I have ever met, in my not-too-long, but eventful sojourn on earth.

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Come to the political milieu; like a colossus, they dominate, in the early years of Nigeria’s existence as a sovereign nation. The like of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Michael Okpara;. Ukpabi Asika, Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe, Dr. Sam Mbakwe, Nwafor Orizu, Jim Nwobodo, Chuba Okadigbo, among others. In academia, the first indigenous Vice Chancellor of the Premier University – The University of Ibadan, established in 1948, was an Igbo man, Professor Kenneth Dike; while the first Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos is Professor Eni Njoku. He had previously served in the same capacity at Nsuka, as the first indigenous VC of The University of Nigeria, years before the time.

Go into the business world, You’d find the likes of Cosmas Maduka, Allen Onyeama, Chief Emmanuel Nwuanyanwu, Orji Uzor Kalu, Peter Obi, Senator Ifeanyi Uba, not forgetting the reported first billionaire in Africa, Sir Philip Ojukwu, the father of the Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu.

Go into the sporting world; that they dominate the national team in every sport is an understatement. There has been no time, when the Igbo don’t constitute, at least, 40% of the starting eleven of the senior football national team, the Super Eagles, ditto for the age grade teams. That would bring to memory, the Christian Chukwus, Emmanuel Okalas, Alloysius Aturgbus, Uche Okechukwus, Kanu Nwankwos of this world. So Igbó people are no pushovers, in any human endeavour.

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Following from that fact, they have been severally tipped by, keen observers of their exploits, across different field of human endeavours, to lead the path to Nigeria’s industrialisation.

But the unfortunate and avoidable civil war that happened to Nigeria, between July 1967 and January 1970 seems to have derail that projection. The war led to the displacement people, lives and dreams.

Ever since then, in spite of the Federal Government’s policy of 4Rs – Reconstruction, Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration, which cannot be said to have been whole-heartedly implemented by the successive governments, the feeling of marginalisation of the Igbo, which to state the obvious is responsible for the rise in tension generated by the agitation of groups such as Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB among others, have been on the upward swing.

IPOB, has no doubt been the most volatile in its agitation in terms of approach and violence-inducing rhetorics issued by the group, under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, popularly known as MNK, by his admirers. He has on a regular basis, been issuing inflammatory statements against other ethnic groups in the country, especially, the Hausa/Fulani and the Yoruba, calling them all sort of derogatory names. But anyone who is intelligent enough would know that, he does not represent the generality of the Igbo, as far as his view on the intergroup relations in Nigeria is concerned. But then the deafening silence from majority of leaders in the South East appears to be a kind of subtle endorsement of his exuberant endeavours.

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Many well-meaning Nigerians have at one time or the other called on the apex Pan-Igbo sociocultural group, the “Ohanaeze Ndigbo” to rein in on him, the need to reduce the tone of violence that most often characterises his press releases, via the internet-based radio Biafra, Twitter and other social media platforms; but all to no avail.

When the issue of farmers-herders clash in the country came to a head, Governors of the mainly Yoruba region of South Western Nigeria came up with a resolve to establish a security outfit under nomenclature – Western Nigerian Security Network, WNSN, code-named operation Amotekun, to curb criminality in the region.

Then IPOB did not cut any of the south east Governors a slack; calling on them to follow suit. Before they could come up with a response, Nnamdi Kanu who is now in the custody of the State Security Services, SS
following his arrest and subsequent deportation from Kenya, ordered the formation of ESN, Eastern (Nigerian) Security Network, which has no legal enablement. He now undergoing trial.

In order not to be to have conceded the monopoly of violence to such a non-state actor, the South East Governors’ forum under the leadership of Governor Dave Umahi came up with “Ebube Agu”.

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Shortly after, the region started witnessing series of attacks on government facilities like the correctional service centres, police stations, DSS State offices, INEC offices, and deliberate targeting of security agents for elimination. Army, Air Force, Naval, Police, Customs, Immigration among other officers of the law were being targeted for elimination in the region.

The matter got to another level, when they started issuing a “Sit-At-Home” order on Mondays to everyone who resides in “Àní Igbo” (Igbó land). Anybody seen on the street on Mondays across the entire Igboland is summarily executed; and his properties destroyed by groups of young men, armed to the teeth. This has drawn a wide range of condemnation from almost everybody, and well-meaning Ndigbo across the globe.

This, they claim, is contradictory to the principles embedded in the “1st June 1969 Ahiara Declaration” of the concept of Biafra; which encapsulates the will of an average Biafran to survive, socio-economically within the ambit of progressive politicking.

And truly, if one takes a look at the contents of the declaration, there would be no gainsaying that, if the Biafran Civil War was a case of external aggression against “the people of Biafra”, then the current regime of violence, being superintended by the men of ESN/IPOB, is a case of Igbo people against Biafra.

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Since the current madness began, the economy of the region, peopled by the most enterprising black men in the world, has taken a massive hit, such that, experts say, it would take a century before they can recover what is being lost to the ongoing orgy of violence by these disgruntled elements.

I have the privilege of interacting with Ndigbo on so many levels, and I have never found one who is unintelligent. That compels me to ask; are these guys truly Igbó? If they’re, they ought to know that, you don’t fight an enemy, real or imagined, by hurting yourself.

We must not lose sight of the fact that, the “Sit-At-Home” order seems to be succeeding, not because, majority of the people are in support of IPOB; it is because, if they defy the order, will the Federal Government offer them adequate protection against the outlawed? The answer is “NO”. Another unfortunate aspect of the whole saga is that, “Ebube Agu” is missing in action, while arson walks on all four.

Successful individuals who don’t subscribe to their ways are either targeted for attack/elimination, or their property destroyed.

Just last Sunday, the former Lagos State APC Publicity Secretary Chief Joe Ignokwe had his mansion in his home town – Nnewi in Anambra State, burnt down by men believed to be operatives of the ESN. Before then, on Tuesday, 28th of September 2021, the widower late Profile (Mrs) Dora Akunyili, Dr. Chike Akunyili was gruesomely murdered by the unknown gunmen, as they are sometimes referred to, by those who want to be politically correct. The insurrection in the region continues to claim the best of the best the region has been able to produce.

The former Biafra leader late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, I am sure, would be wondering, what correlation exists between the “Aihara Declaration” of 1969, and the current campaign of terror. The latter is definitely an onslaught against the former.

When the fiery Kanu started his secessionist agitation, many of those who supported him have since turned their back against the Afaraukwu-born “leader”. No thanks to how his campaign was hurting the interests of Ndigbo across the nation. Remember, Igbo people are the group with the largest investment (properties) outside of their own region of origin. So, they believe, Igbo have much more to lose than any group, should Kanu continue that way.

This is not to say that the federal government of Nigeria has acted in the fairest of manners towards a people who suffered such a homogeneous loss during the war. For the record, no Igbo man had risen beyond the rank of the “Vice President” in Nigeria, since after the Civil War.

To make matters worse, the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari has never demonstrated enough magnanimity towards a people he refers to as “5 percenters”, or “Dot in the cycle”. Those particular statements are emblematic of the gross mismanagement of our diversity; something the current administration is notorious for. You don’t treat such an aggrieved (genuinely or otherwise) group like a conquered people, if you truly are not paying lip service to National Unity.
No matter how much the Nigerian State dodges the conversation meant to trash out the grievances, it would continue to colour the relationship between the region and the federal governments. That’s by the way.

It is however bizarre, looking at who appears to be running things, as far as advancing the course of the Igbo interest within the Nigerian State is concerned. The elites and supposed leaders of thought in Igbo land had left Kanu for too long, causing nearly, irreparable damage to the interests by his unwarranted verbal attack attack against other regions and their leaders.

With all sense of sincerity, in term of general underdevelopment, no region suffers less than South East in Nigeria. Not even the North West that has produced the highest number of occupants of the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Looking at what ESN/IPOB is doing in the south east, the Igbo people need no enemy. With a “liberator like IPOB/ESN, the Igbos need no enemy. They have relentlessly and consistently assaulted federal presence in the region; burning government facilities; killing security agents; preventing students from, going to school or writing WAEC; bringing the economy to its knee. They insist; no election in the south east, starting with the forthcoming November 6 Anambra Governorship election.

Many Igbos in the diaspora are now afraid of going home, for fear of the unknown gunmen. It is high time the Igbo take their land back from terror. They must restore their entrepreneurial inclination, that has brought them success wherever they went. The Igbo must wake up and tame the monster that is walking on the landscape of Ani Igbo, and reverse this ugly trend to avoid having to pay a heavy price in future for the current damages being done.

Abubakar writes from Ilorin.

You can reach him via 08051388285 or [email protected]

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