Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Following the success of the sit-at-home order by Igbo separatists Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Wednesday, May 30, the South-East Governors Forum and the Federal Government have been advised to de-proscribe IPOB and work with the group.
Giving the advise Thursday, the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) said, with what happened on Wednesday, where both public and private businesses were paralyzed in most of the South-East states, it was obvious the masses were with the agitators and listened to them.
In a statement signed by ECA Secretary and Deputy Secretary, Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, and the Leader, Igbo Women Assembly (IWA) and Deputy Leader, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) Chief Mrs. Maria Okwor, ECA said what took place on Wednesday was a successful quasi referendum.
The statement reads in part:
“Again our people have spoken with one voice in completely paralyzing our region by staying at home yesterday in demonstration to the world, where we stand. Despite intimidations, harassment and threats from certain quarters, our people resolutely stayed indoors yesterday (Wednesday).
“We commend our people, for standing on the truth. This is particularly interesting, because, in spite of the spirited effort by government apparatchik to pervert the truth through inducement and blackmail. We congratulate the people of Eastern Nigeria. Government owned media reports hundred per cent compliance in Aba, Nnewi, Onitsha, etc and over 70 per cent compliance in other areas, the people have spoken.
“One year ago, after another successful sit-at-home, some people issued quit notice, mounted pressure, which led to unprovoked attack at Afaraukwu, in active connivance with collaborators, to kill innocent souls, whose only crime is, that they have lost faith in Nigeria as currently constituted and therefore seek freedom from relentless oppression by a ruthless oppressor who proudly values cattle over human life.
“Again yesterday, our people demonstrated in no uncertain terms that we are completely tired of unitary Nigeria. If a referendum were to be conducted today, it is clear that the old Eastern region would vote 95 per cent out of this hellish country.
“Yesterday’s successful sit-at-home is a quasi referendum on where the people’s soul and spirit lie. The result is too clear for even the blind to see.
“Again, this development confirms that the pseudo leaders of our region who have paraded themselves as ”Leaders” for years have finally lost it. They have just become leaders without followers. This is also an affirmation that no amount of operation cobra jump or operation viper fly can subvert the will of the people.
“We commend the leadership of the most oppressed and most persecuted mass movement in the world, for their patience, tolerance, endurance and ability to lead, direct and guide the masses of Eastern Nigeria with humility and determination, in spite of the provocation of a clearly clueless oppressor.
“An oppressor who has exhausted every brutal strategy, including slaughtering thousands of unarmed agitators in cold blood, just to sustain an unworkable unitary structure, by fire, by force.”
ECA called on the Governors of South-East and other leaders to ensure they were standing with their people, stressing that the situation whereby they could only meet in the region with the assistance and protection of armoured cars and fitter jets was a minus for them.
“For our pseudo leaders, we advise, they reconnect with this mass movement for their own good. Proscribing the most popular and most powerful critical mass in the region, does not really make sense. Especially, now that everybody knows, that they, the so called leaders cannot meet anywhere in the land without the help and protection of armored cars, fighter jets and military helicopters.
“The narrative that the agitators are a small, troublesome and violent group has been permanently destroyed yesterday. And the truth, which is that they proudly live in the hearts of the masses, has been roundly reaffirmed in a most dramatic manner.
“It is idiotic for anybody to continue to dwell in falsehood. The people spoke so loudly yesterday by staying indoors. Their message reverberated all over the world.
“The attempt to brand a mass movement that is the authentic voice of the people; a terrorist group, has fallen through, into the pit toilet. The people themselves spoke in a loud voice.
“Finally, our word for our freedom fighters: Don’t let yesterday’s success go to your head. It is clear that over 80 per cent of the people are with you. Our people will remain with you as long as you remain incorruptible and non violent. It is clear to even the enemies that you are the authentic voice of the masses.
“Our word for the leaders: You are nothing without the masses. Organizing events, only, with the help of security protection is bad enough; the clear obedience by the masses to the group you proscribed is a very loud indictment. De-proscribe them and work with them. Those who have ears let them hear.”