By Amadiebube Mbama
Throughout human history, people who felt oppressed adopted different methods to free themselves. Aba women’s riot was one of those methods. Another was US Rosa Park refusal to give up her seat in a bus for a white person contrary to what was applicable at the time. In the case of Rosa Park, her action and the treatment she received galvanized the African American community and they boycotted the bus system and trekked or drove to work. The economic consequences to the bus company and the city were felt immediately and that resulted in canceling the discriminatory policy whereby an African American must give up his/her seat to a white person unless they were sitting in the back of the bus reserved for African Americans. The action resulted in a positive outcome for the oppressed people.
Rewind to the current Sit at Home order adopted by our people to draw attention to the injustice being meted to our people and also for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. As noble as the idea of Sit at Home was initially, every fair minded nwa afor Igbo will agree that the idea has been hijacked by both external and internal enemies of Ndiigbo. The economic and social consequences have been disastrous for Ndiigbo.
Ndiigbo are a mercantile people and any decision that affects our ability to maximize that comparative advantage is anti-Igbo. Any nwa afor Igbo that buys into forcing our people to stay home when they should be making money to feed their families is an enemy of Ndiigbo. We are now preaching Aku Ruo Ulo to our successful business people. How can we castigate them for not investing in Alaigbo and at the same time destroying or forbidding people to patronize them just about any time we get excited to show how powerful we are? Investments do not do well in a such environment.
Closely related to the painful economic strangulation of Alaigbo are the social consequences. Is Sit at Home synonymous with the destruction of rural areas of Alaigbo? Last December when we came home for Christmas and New Year celebrations, we flew into Enugu on one of the days that they called for a five-day sit at home. When we landed in Enugu from Ethiopia, Enugu was bustling, and people were going about their business. On our way home, we went through Owerri (a longer distance) because Owerri people like Enugu people were going about their business. They said that if we had gone through Orlu, we may encounter people forcing the Sit at Home and that may be disastrous for us. Orlu, which should have been the second largest city after Owerri, has suffered huge economic dislocations despite its strategic location. Orlu is next to Anambra, a business minded state and close to Owerri Imo State Capital. While the Sit at Home is routinely being enforced in the rural areas, most of the major cities are now slowly going about their businesses. The social fallout is yet to be felt. Last Monday, a close relative was sick, and people could not go out to buy medicine because it was on Monday. They waited until the evening when people were allowed to go out before they could go out. What happens if this was a matter of life and death?
If we do not want to see Alaigbo destroyed, Sit at Home must stop. A new method that will not penalize the people that we are trying to liberate must be researched and adopted. What is happening now is a system that has been weaponized by our enemy to destroy Alaigbo. The legitimate IPOB must see this as a challenge and mount serious propaganda to destroy the counter propaganda that has been deployed to confuse our youths. For Alaigbo to industrialize, there must be security and our enemies know it. If the legitimate IPOB is serious about stopping Sit at Home, they must deploy means to enforce it. The people propagating the illegal Sit at Home are using force, therefore the legitimate IPOB must use counter force. Our people are suffering too much. Let me close with what a friend sent to me when we discussed the one week Sit at Home order “Bros who is dishing out this notice. The information reaching me from the South East is that hunger has finally arrived and for them to add this notice to them is final Kwashiorkor”.
* Mbama, a Financial and Anti-Money Laundering/Anti-Terrorist Financing Expert writes from Atlanta.