By Osy Agbo Okanga-Omenuko
Ndigbo Ibe m! Loo nu ilulo!!!
“There will be no sit-at-home, in Biafra land on January Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th, 2022. Anybody issuing the order for sit-at-home on 19th and 20th of January is not a member of IPOB and such persons are working against the interest of its leader and the entire struggle for independence and should, therefore, be disregarded.”
The above message was issued this past Saturday and credited to IPOB’s mercurial Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful. Yet, the situation on the ground in the five southeastern states as I pen this piece is that of a complete lockdown. Feel free to call it forced but the compliance is close to 100 percent.
In the coal city-state of Enugu, the fear is so strangulating that a pregnant woman would rather deliver at home. Last week, those who listened to the IPOB’s reassuring words to go about their normal business, met a different set of reality on that fateful Monday. Random gunshots trigger a stampede and of course, the unconscionable and yet repetitive act of destroying the wares belonging to everyday people trying to eke out a living. There were even reports of a few human casualties.
And so, the nagging question again remains, who is in charge in the southeast? Certainly not IPOB, as much as they would want us to believe. The five leprous hands in the government houses have since abdicated that responsibility. The saddest part is that they have even stopped pretending to. In the ensuing chaos, a litany of non-state actors aka criminals has taken over.
On one hand, are campus cultists scattered across our institutions of higher learning with nothing better to do than wield this newly acquired power to control. On the other hand, is the Finland-based kid that goes by the name Simon Ekpa, a self-acclaimed disciple of Nnamdi Kanu whom IPOB allegedly had since disowned but who wields more power today than Nnamdi Kanu himself.
Each time IPOB’s Emma Powerful issues an order, the guy will make a two-second clip to counter it. With all the threats to “deal with those bent on destroying Alaigbo”, it’s starting to dawn on IPOB leadership that it’s actually harder to govern than to upset whatever is left of an existing order.
When you help set your house on fire, there is no way to guarantee success if and when you decide it’s time to contain it. The inferno just rages on. Here is the kicker; it’s doubtful that this situation will change even after MNK is released. The genie has already left the bottle and they will always find a reason why we need another lockdown.
Ndigbo! Do you still not realize that the enemy has taken the fight to your homes? Shouldn’t we demand that those who are holding power at our behest focus on protecting us rather than chasing after the next office? No one is asking you to fire a bullet or attack anyone but we can at least march on the streets to register our protest. Isn’t it time to fight back or should we rather wait till they invade our bedrooms, rape our women and knockdown where we sleep?
Now for those who love to argue, this short piece is not about whether IPOB did something right or wrong. Let history be the judge on that. This is about how we can all help to arrest an unsustainable situation.
Ndigbo Ibe m! Loo nu ilulo
- Osy Agbo Okanga-Omenuko