Few days ago, the Anambra State Government directed that socioeconomic activities should be recuperated fully again every Monday and any other weekday, except any day declared work-free by the appropriate authorities. The directive has since been commended and eulogized by progressives and rational thinkers.
It is axiomatic that the good people of Anambra State and, indeed, the Southeast have, for the past six weeks or so, been grappling with a vicious cycle on a grand scale. Some pupils have missed terminal and external examinations, with all the grave implications for the competitiveness of the youngsters and for the future of Ndigbo.
A number of small-scale restaurateurs, petty traders and menial jobbers have had their investments destroyed by these non-state actors for coming out to pursue their legitimate businesses, through which they feed their families, pay house rents, pay for the education of their children and take care of relatives and other dependents. Some have lost their cars, keke motorcycles and their means of livelihood. The less lucky ones have lost their lives most gruesomely in other parts of the Southeast.
Admittedly, no responsible government can stand akimbo while the future of its people is destroyed gratuitously, especially when the leadership of the organization on whose instructions some persons claim to enforce the stay-at-home order has since rescinded the order.
In a release last week, Comrade Emma Powerful, media and publicity secretary of IPOB, threatened that anybody caught using the name of the organization to enforce non-existent sit-at-home would be treated as a traitor. His words, “Any other purported sit-at-home, including the suspended weekly sit-at-home on Mondays, does not exist in the dairy of IPOB. Anybody trying to enforce any sit-at-home order, using the name of IPOB, is a saboteur, and does so at his or her peril.” End of quote.
There is no doubt that this situation which Ndigbo found themselves is precarious and pitiable. Those who, ab initio, advised us against heeding to the come home and invest in Igboland, are now laughing at us. We’re destroying what we built over the years.
All enemies of Ndigbo will be so happy to see us continue to sit at home. They would even want us to extend it to three times a week. But that means shooting urself on the foot; that would amount to a wrestler tying his hands at his back before facing his opponent. Only a mad man drinks poison and expects his enemy to die. Only a fool will kill his relatives, destroy businesses in his homeland, just to send message to his perceived enemies.
Let us therefore heed Governor Willie Obiano’s call for us to go back to our businesses, especially when IPOB has washed their hands off the sit at home. Anyone trying to enforce the non-existent order is therefore an enemy of Ndigbo and by extension, a marauder, hoodlum, impostor and, according to IPOB, he or she must be treated as such.
There is no point for us to continue to hurt ourselves and destroy our self-made efforts. We laugh at those who did not send their children to school and we’re turning around to stop our own children from going to school. This is an aberration.
It is regrettable that while the sit at home protest has been suspended, certain hoodlums continued to enforce the order by inflicting harm on defaulters, thus residents of the region continued to stay at home out of fear. Such should not be the case, after all, the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tony Olofu, has promised members of the public, particularly Ndi Anambra, of enhanced security of lives and property in the state.
The police and other security agencies should, however, walk their talk because most people stay at home out of fear of molestation. But if the people observe the presence of Police, Army, Civil Defence and other agencies around, they will be encouraged and strengthened to go out, unmolested. Our vigilante groups, Presidents-General, village youth groups, market and traditional rulers should see this as a big challenge. Okenye adighi ano n’uno ewu amua n’ogbili. Let us rise and defend our rights!
Let’s not allow hoodlums to perpetuate us at home out of fear. Youths should be equipped to give it back to them because they don’t have our interest at heart. Let us unite to apprehend anyone that tries to disrupt our socioeconomic activities. Self-defense is not a crime. We must now summon the full weight of the Igbo spirit and show this idol the tree it was hewn from.
WRITTEN BY CHIEF JUDE EMECHETA