By Bala Ibrahim
The Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), has declared today, Tuesday, September 14, 2021, as another sit-at-home day to commemorate victims of what they called: “the invasion of the compound of it’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, at Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia, Abia State. Accordingly, the proscribed group, in a statement signed by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, is powerfully advising people of the zone to stay indoors, as a mark of honor to the fallen heroes and heroines allegedly killed during the raid.
By this action, and similar actions in the past, which for reasons of fear more, than the loyalty to a genuinely believed cause, the south east region is increasingly falling victim of a deliberate ploy to kill it economically and politically.
For decades, the region has been suffering from political peripherality, that was also the result of the people’s miscalculation and misconstruction of Nigeria’s situation, based on faulty and incorrect thinking of those with similar brains like Nnamdi Kanu.
Since yesterday, people living in the region, many of whom are legitimate traders, have been subjected to palpable fears, which would undoubtedly translate to immense economic losses, that would only be counted after today.
A friend alerted me last night, of the plight of some people that have traveled from the north to the region for a seminar or something similar, but were trapped in their hotel without food. They couldn’t afford the expensive hotel food, and couldn’t take the risk of going out to eat else where, because of the tension and emptiness of the streets. They were compulsorily cornered to a state of choicelessness.
Thank God, my friend and I, with the help of some security operatives in the region, were able to successfully secure a subtle succor for them. Only God knows the situation of others, that are less fortunate. But that is not the nub, or the most important point of this article. The crux of the article is the economic losses the region is recording as a result of the silliness, or senselessness of the sit at home strategy.
In Nigeria, the GDP contribution of the Ibos is astonishingly great. The total of all value added created by the Ibos to the Nigerian economy is colossal. In fact, the Ibo contribution goes beyond the value of goods added, to the value of services needed to produce them, because they are virtually involved in the manufacture of everything in Nigeria.
According to the Late Professor Ali Mazrui, the Ibos are so geographically mobile and economically prosperous, that wherever there is sunshine and fresh air in Nigeria, there must be an Ibo man. To support that position, pursuant to the successful visit of PMB to Imo State last week, while appearing on a political programme on Channels TV, the State governor, Hope Uzodimma, debunked the argument of any separatist agitation, saying if you visit any village or cranny in Nigeria without seeing an Ibo man there, you should question the legitimacy, or conformity of that village to the Nigerian configuration.
This underscores the dominance of the Ibos in the integration and amalgamation of Nigeria. However, as rightly observed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is intending to inflict more injuries on Igbo people with its sit-at-home order that is being declared too frequently.
According to the former governor of Enugu State, who represents Enugu-East senatorial district, the order was a betrayal of South-East interest, and has grounded the South-East economy.
“Most of our people live on daily income. Think of the market women who depend on daily earnings to feed their families. Think of students writing external examinations being denied access to the venues. How does enslaving our people, denial of means of livelihood add value to our quest for equity and justice? If others reject us, should we also reject ourselves? It stands to reason that this sit-at-home cannot be a way forward. We cannot abandon ourselves. In our struggle for equity and justice in the Nigerian federation, we cannot inadvertently inflict more injuries on ourselves by this sit-at-home. Let wise counsel prevail”- Senator Nnamani.
Sure, like they did in the previous miscalculations of refusing to move with the center in national politics, the situation that left them marginalized politically, some Ibos are again thinking without their known thinking cap, which I think is wrong. When you lock up your zone or region, other zones will be engaging in their businesses, which would mean their daily growth and progress, to the detriment of your region.
When the Nigerian economy is perused through the lenses of small and medium enterprises, the resilience and entrepreneurial ingenuity of the Igbo people, amidst harsh economic and environmental realities can not be over-emphasized.
Many researches have established and given credit to the Ibos, for their economic contribution of SMEs to Nigeria, particularly in the apprenticeship model of Nigeria ‘s economic prosperity.
Unless the Ibos want to sentence themselves to the permanent dustbin, they need to have a rethink about the senselessness of the sit at home strategy.
If they think it would compel Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, sorry, wrong number.
Let them ask Sambo Dasuki and Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, on the impact, or importance of such an unpopular stride with people like President Muhammadu Buhari.