Many people still wonder why residents of the South- East stay at home every May 31.
It should be noted that the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu did not compel residents of the defunct Biafra territory to stay at home. He should not have, ordinarily, issued the ‘stay at home’ directive if we have well-thinking political leaders and governors in the area.
Sadly, he needed to remind us because we seem to be very afraid and scared to remember those who died for us; he needed to remind the ignorant among us that our future and those of our children still remain bleak and uncertain in a country we call ours.
Does anyone force or order us to remember the day Christ died? Does anyone order us to remember June 12? Does anyone order us to remember Jan 15, the day Nigeria Armed Forces remember the genocide against us?
You see! It took a young man born after the war to remind us of our responsibilities because we have for long acted like men who lack testicular erectile fortitude.
I and my entire family will never move out on any May 30 and 31 because we lost 7 uncles during that war. I stay at home for their memories; I stay at home to remind me that the war is not over.
I stay at home to remind me that we got where we are today with only N20 after they stole all we had; I stay at home in memory of the over one million children who died from kwashiorkor.
I shall stay at home because I am Igbo, marginalised by the brutal wicked forces from futajelon; I stay at home because I am human and I have never forgotten as the bombs were dropped on our schools and places of worship.
I shall stay at home in memory of all the properties of my people stolen as abandoned properties; I shall stay at home to mourn all that have been murdered, raped and killed through the connivance and silence of Nigeria leaders.
I must stay at home in memory of my younger brother Christopher Timber Okoli who died from shell shock by Nigerian soldiers; I will stay at home in memory of my uncle Onochie buried alive in Asaba.
I shall stay at home because it is my right to mourn my dead heroes; It is also the right of every right thinking people of South-East to do so.
So leave us in peace to mourn our dead in our ancestral land;We are not your slaves, devoid of fundamental human rights.
Also, one Benjamin Achi in an article titled ‘A Voice now Commands the Region’, has expressed shock how an entire region of a country gets jittery at the words of a certain young man who sits in the comfort of his home thousands of miles away from the land.
“Yet, the so called governors in that region still continue to live in that self delusion that they are still in charge and have not failed on all counts.
“One grossly deceptive voice keeps telling them that their recruitment of hundreds of praise singers and media foot soldiers would obliterate that fact. Such a pitiable bunch they are,” he said.
Achi noted that at this point, only one voice matter in the South East of Nigeria: a voice that probably would have been drowned or even non existent if those who hold the reins had picked up the gauntlet.
He said that every effort that has been made to make these men (the governors) rise to the occasion and live up to their responsibilities has fallen on deaf ears.
“Now they have all cocooned, catching cold at the sneeze of one man. Shame is the word,” Achi said.
Meanwhile, the current state of things in the South-East region which was relatively peaceful before now is worrisomeand requires serious attention. The region has been going through series of attacks by hoodlums for a while with several public infrastructure, including police stations burnt down.
Recent happenings in the area have seen more security operatives deployed to the region which has led to the arrest of many people for allegedly being part of the group that has been terrorizing the region. However, even after the mass arrests, there are still reports of attacks in different parts of the region.
Looking at the scenario, it can be argued that the use of force is not yielding the much needed positive result. Instead, innocent and unarmed youths are being arrested for a crime they know nothing about, while the gunmen are still busy attacking facilities in different parts of the region.
With this, it can be argued that the use of force could end up doing more harm than good. Therefore, it is time for the governors of the five states within the South-East to understand that their house is on fire.
As Chief Security Officers of their various states, the governors should take it upon themselves to put the region in order. It is often said that dialogue is the best method of conflict resolution.
As such, it may not be a bad idea to dialogue with the aggrieved groups, identify what their problem is, and work towards finding a lasting solution to the issues raised.
A leader should not be watching the people he is leading being labelled as terrorists, bandits and criminals even without being tried by a competent court.
What is happening in the South-East has indeed, become a true test for the governors and it is time for them to prove their leadership qualities, if they have any.
If a governor is able to manage the security of his state, it can be argued that there will not be any need for the deployment of the military to his state.
As such, no matter what we are experiencing in the South-East at the moment, it is the house of these governors and they have the responsibility to put it in order before it will be too late.