I am deeply concerned about the spate of violence and attacks in South East of Nigeria in recent times especially in Imo State. The South East had over time in the past decades enjoyed relative peace and freedom of movement which encouraged many organizations and pride investors who are of Igbo extraction to begin to think home in the Area of investment and other developmental pride, but unfortunately the upsurge of insecurity in the area has upset that positive movement. Most people in Imo State today can hardly sleep with their two eyes closed in any one day. this is highly condemnable and must stop.
Ndigbo especially Imo State are unfortunately been profiled as violent people which is very unfair and totally out of character on the Igbo People. We have a long history of developing wherever we are domiciled to pursue legitimate means of livelihood. It is estimated that more than three times the number of people living in South East are spread in Nigeria and in those places, the industry and enterprise of the Igbo man is being felt, seen and touched by all Nigerians.
No person anywhere in the world who is known to create and develop wealth is at the same time known to destroy wealth because such a person knows the eternal benefits of wealth creation and human development. Existing facts confirm that it is not in the character of the Igbo to destroy life and to destroy property. Even in the medieval Igbo history when community went to war for various reasons, it was a taboo and indeed abominable for a warrior to kill women or children. It always came with very severe sanctions. The attitude of the Igbo has not changed, so wherever you see the killing of women and children, you can swear on behalf of Ndigob that such atrocities do not bear the signature of the Igbo man.
We believe in communal and community development. Most assets, infrastructure, amenities and utilities you find in the Igbo rural community were generally provided by sons and daughters of such community. The truth also is that most of the police stations built in many parts of Igbo land were either built by well to do individuals or through community effort in order to encourage the police and other security Agencies to carry out their statutory duties of maintaining law and order.
Thriving communities in Igbo land that do not have police stations always applied for such and offered the provision; of the building and sometimes vehicles to provide incentive to the police to site the station in their community. It therefore defies logic that the same people will collectively plot to destroy the very assets they provide through their hard earned contributions.
It is a common knowledge that recent events / violent attacks in the South East have a certain disturbing dimensions, some of our misguided young men have been caught in the act of perpetrating this violence against their own people and in the process destroyed public assets and attacked law enforcement agents.
There is no justification for these attacks. The legitimate agitation for an equitable and fair society in Nigeria and the anger against marginalization against the Igbo people can never be resolved through violence. We cannot cut our nose to spite our face. It is embarrassing, It is counterproductive, it is primitive. Ndigbo are well beyond these characteristics.
There is also the dimension of those who have not overcome their loss of the immediate past election in Imo State. Most of the leaders of these losers in a democratic contest have not hidden their open disclaim for the victorious government of Senator Hope Uzodimma. They have openly and in many open ways including organizing street protest seek to make Imo State ungovernable to distract Governor Hope Uzodimma and to create the impression that the people of Imo State have not accepted his victory.
These are facts that are self evident/my appeal to these people and their followers is that Imo State belong to all of us, it is now over a year since that election came and passed and were rested. Inspite of these unfortunate distraction and subversive activities of these elements amongst us, the Governor has shown capacity, commitment tolerance, and patriotism in his style of governance. Again, the rapid strides in development in Imo State in the past one year is also self evident.
The government can achieve a lot more in an atmosphere of peace and unity.
There is also the dimension of possible sponsorship of “unknown gunmen” to carry out attacks in Igbo land in order to demark the zone against the 2023 general election. The utterances of supposed prominent Nigerians in high places including misguided leaders of Psudo organizations purporting to speak for the North have ceased every opportunity to exaggerate the direction of the attack in the Southeast and follow up such deliberate incitement to threaten death and genocide on Igbo people all over the country. This is being intensified as we approach 2023. Some of these so called leaders are uncomfortable with what has become a near national consensus, that Equity, Justice and fair play demand that the presidential slot for 2023 should be reserved for the people of the Southeast Geo-political zone of Nigeria as has been done since 1999 till present time, where rotation between the North and the South has become a convention of our National power rotation. Let it be stressed that the genocide attitude of some of our security agencies who conducted themselves as though they were unleashed on the people of the southeast for annihilation is highly provocative, condemnable and atrocious.
There is no justification in any civilized society for policemen and soldiers to round up unarmed and innocent young men and women for slaughter. Many have been abducted from their residences, some woken up from their sleep, taken away and eliminated The perpetrators of this provocative act openly boast of what they have been directed to do in Igbo land and They openly speak in Hausa, creating an impression that rather than being security agents to maintain law & orders, they are an occupation army. It is important to caution that there is a limit to which these genocidal conduct can be endured. It is therefore advised to rein these misguided security agents and if possible withdraw them and deploy them to the various war fronts in various parts in the North where their services are more needed and where they can prove their bravery in the execution of war. This advice should be considered urgently as the patience of the people is fast running out.
In the same token, I wish to re-emphases my admonition to some of our young men and women, who under the cover of agitation for self determination attack security personnel and desist from such act forthwith they are the ones who are attracting the invasion of our land area by blood thirsty men of the police and Army to our area. It is self destruction to set your people up for annihilation. It defies logic it is simply stupid and wicked.
In conclusion, I appeal to President Mohammed Buhari not to loose sight of the fact that he is the father of the Nation. God has endured him with the necessary powers to promote peace and unity in the country.
He should have an inclusive government, treating every section of the country with justice and fairness. I believe that he should use his remanding two year left in his Eight (8) years tenure to heal wounds abridge the divisions that currently exist and restore the confidence of majority of Nigeria in the Nigeria project. He must aim to leave Nigeria more united than he met it.
Chief Nwanyanwu is the National Chairman of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)