You need to active Javascript on your
BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Ghost-town strategy, UGM and reign of terror: By whom and for what?

Our people have many proverbs and idioms used to define the unlucky or ill-fated fellow. He needs to pick his teeth after drinking water; whenever he goes hunting, even the tortoise would learn how to climb; the day he searches for a wife, only madwomen would be available and the day he wants to ‘do’, the lady’s ‘holy-of-holies’ grows thorns. As you can agree with me, these are unusual occurrences, with water sticking in between someone’s teeth, as the weirdest. But that is the fate of onye chi ojoo(the ill-fated fellow). As it is, we, the DOT-people or IPOBians, (for PMB, every ‘onye-Igbo’ is IPOBist) have become the quintessential ill-fated people. This includes Dave Umahi who swore that Ebonyi would NEVER be a part of Biafra because it amounted to second slavery ( haa)! I do not know whether he spoke for himself or for his people and whether he has bothered to find out those who constitute arch-IPOBians; those who act without thinking on behalf of IPOB. Anyway, because we are an ill-fated people, whenever we or some of us do less than 1% of what others do freely, it becomes front-page news and we, all of us, are subjected to the ‘language-they-can-understand’ treatment.

Just look at the recent front-page news and you can understand what I mean. This includes the arrest and brutalisation of Chief Chiwetalu Agu for wearing Biafranist attire. But the issue is that nobody has said a word to Gumi, the self-appointed Minister of Terrorist Affairs, who hobnobs with assorted bands of terrorists, who pleads that we stop killing bandits because they have families and who just said that Nigeria would end if Buhari declared bandits as terrorists. Even the armed terrorists are neither arrested nor ‘neutralised’ because, according to the great Lai, the government does not want to harm the people. And because they are petty criminals who love Nigeria. But the reverse is the case with ‘my people, my people’ because we are an ill-fated people.

Read Also: Malami and the ‘Emergency rule’ in Anambra

In the past few weeks, it has been a reign of terror (ROT) in Anambra state, supposedly by UGM. The gruesome murder of Dr Akunyili was the height of it. Of course, the torching of the Nnewi house of the drainage specialist, Joe Igbokwe, together with the DSS and FRSC complexes occurred around the same town. Then came the attack on APGA rally at Ihiala on 12/10/21. Some people have already accused IPOB and its ‘military arm’, the ESN, of complicity. Suddenly, Mr Malami, announced the intention of the FGN to declare a SoE (State of Emergency) in Anambra State. Beyond the fact that Anambra has been safe and calm in the past 7+years, a look at the terror statistics in Nigeria shows that before SoE gets to Anambra, it would have become a national affair. The other day, certified terrorists murdered 43 Nigerians at a sitting Goronyo town in the Sokoto State, and a bandit-leader, Shehu Rekeb had the temerity to explain ‘why we struck’! This is probably more than the number of people killed in Anambra in the last three months. (This does not make it less repulsive). In the first 6 weeks of 2021, 1521 Nigerians were murdered by NSAs (Non-State Actors), with Kaduna, Zamfara, and Borno state responsible for 497, 267, and 257 respectively. The entire SouthEast and the entire South accounted for 85, and 300 respectively, making the SE, the most peaceful region in Nigeria. Yet, the South (SE, and Anambra in particular) is where the pythons and crocodiles are gyrating now in the forms of the golden dawn, enduring peace and still water. You do not get peace by raw force and the water cannot be still when it is consciously being troubled.

Now just the other day, Nnamdi Kanu was brought to court and charged with, among others, insulting the President and looting the Oba’s place in Lagos. But we all saw when a young man slapped the French President the other day and in a lesser degree, the public hot-slap given to Brig Gen Abedin Khorram, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province on 23/10/21. The most laughable, however, is the one about looting the Oba’s palace. Before long, they will accuse him of being responsible for the regular tanker-fires at Otedola bridge, Lagos. However, on 21/10/20, one whole year ago, 15 men were charged for the invasion of Obas Palace. The accused were Olawale, Ajayi, Rafiu, Lukman et al. These do not look like Kanu’s men. By the way, if the FG charged Kanu to court for badmouthing the President, what will they do to Fani Kayode? They just invited to come and chop!

Now, the precarious situation in Anambra and indeed in the SouthEast, started with the Ghost Town Strategy (GTS). It started with Monday lockdowns and then the rebuttal of the GTS by IPOB itself and then the brutal attempt by some unknown elements to enforce the same lockdown and the threat of IPOB to ‘cut the ears’ of anyone enforcing GTS. And then the GTS became an amoeba. It may be just a Monday or a Monday and Tuesday or Monday and Thursday as it was last week. So, when you wake up every morning, you listen to news and rumours to ascertain whether the day was open or closed. And if you wanted to schedule an activity, you would undergo 30-day dry fasting so that the date would not fall into a GTS day. There was even a threat of 30-day lockdown and now a threat of one-week lockdown starting from November 5th. As it is now, nobody is sure of who is announcing or enforcing the lockdown. But people, remembering what had happened to those people found on the wrong side of the Ghost-town days, have decided to stay away. Now PMB, who does not talk much, has ordered that the election must hold and his foot soldiers had reinforced that directive. Nobody brings the war home!

Incidentally, I have been on the road on 4 of these lockdown days, not necessarily because I wanted to prove that ‘nothing mega’ (nothing is happening) but because I just had to travel on these days. On the first day, I went to the Igbo-Ukwu market square to see things for myself. I have also spoken to a lot of people, those who are directly affected by the lockdown; the ‘ejehu olu ma elighi nni’ group (Those who cannot eat unless they go to work). The last two people I spoke with were drivers, who appeared sympathetic to IPOB but decried the lockdown, which impoverished them. On 25/10/21, transport workers in Abia State asked IPOB to give them palliatives to cushion the negative effect of these ghost-town days, including some vehicles burnt in the process of enforcement. The people actually spoke when they mobbed on ill-fated fellow enforcing GTS in Imo state.

Who is responsible for this ROT in Anambra State? As can be seen in the charges against Nnamdi Kanu, the Government is ready to accuse IPOB of every responsible for every development, including the number of police tollgates on the Shagamu- Onisha highway or the increasing bloodletting by the ‘harmless’ bandits. IPOB has denied involvement but our security officials will accuse IPOB before even getting to the scene. We should however remember that the GO of ‘Hopism’, Governor Uzodinman had told us that 70% of those arrested for the Imo mayhem were not Nd’Igbo. How did our security people respond to that declaration? And just the other day, a meeting of traditional rulers in Imo State ended in an orgy of blood. It had been reported officially that the policemen were recalled by their ‘commander’ before then. What have our security people done with that information?

Is this ROT in any way related to the forthcoming elections? If you ask me, ‘who I go ask’? What I believe is that some people are hiding under the statements by loud-mouthed IPOBist to inflict pain and confusion in Anambra. However, things get complicated when IPOB says there would be no elections and people attack political rallies and destroy billboards and IPOB says it is not responsible. More so, the one and only Enynnaya Abaribe had declared that there are more than 30 separatist groups in the South East. However, IPOB has gone ahead to directly accuse the chief Hopist of culpability in this matter, listing the names and phone numbers of those involved in recruiting fake ESN members to cause the regular mayhem in the entire southeast. Do you want me to mention the names? I have not written my will yet and I do not have the money to buy justice for myself. But why do we still talk of UGM when governor Umahi threatened the other day to punish the parents of UGM? If he knows the parents of the UGM, then he sure knows the UGMs!

I want to state unequivocally that the GTS, which costs Anambra State N19,6bn each day or N3,8trn cumulatively (according to Soludo & Ohaneze) cannot be in the interest IPOB,or even the Igbos. This is because we are punishing ourselves and most important, PMB and his government do not give a damn. If he did not notice the El Zakzaky group who were protesting in his ‘doormot’ for months, how will he notice and respond to people shutting their businesses in a DOT part of the country. One uninformed local told me on the first day of the lockdown that the government would be pained by the amount of money (levies and taxes) it would fail to collect on that day, which was an Nkwo day. How much does the FG collect from Nkwo IgboUkwu? Even if it failed to collect anything, the CBN is there! However, it hurts our people and you cannot save or liberate the people by inflicting pain and sorrow on them. Sacrifices are needed to achieve any worthwhile objective but the sacrifices must be strategically aligned to the said objectives. And now, Anambra State is said to have approved a Monday-Saturday School week because of the ghost-Mondays. And that is after the Governor and South East leaders had ordered a stoppage of the GTS, to which IPOB responded ‘you no fit’!

I also want to state, also unequivocally, that disrupting the November 6th election, totally or partially will NOT benefit Anambra State, IPOB or Nd’Igbo. When it is partially done, people ‘boasting of connection in high places’ (Achebe, 1983) will write the results and we have a government willy-nilly. If it is totally disrupted, those in a hurry to impose an emergency rule will have their way and that will not be in our interest as Anambrarians or Nd’Igbo.

Conclusion is what writers do when they are tired. I want to condemn all the bloodletting and syndicated ROT in Anambra State. The killings and ROT, including enforced GTS is not in our interest. Threatening to disrupt or actually disrupting the election will also not help us. However, the degree of Igbofobia, IPOBfobia and DOTfobia in the presidency is condemnable and stands condemned. I also repeat adnauseam, my stand that the way Nigeria is presently structured and run is NOT sustainable. This cannot stand and something MUST happen in that regard. What will happen when and how it will happen, the son of man does not yet know. But things cannot continue to be done the way it is being done today

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.