The recent news of attacks on security infrastructure and Northerners in the Southeast has been blamed on IPOB and its ESN militia and tweets from its leader Nnamdi Kanu and his followers only served to bolster the accusations.
Regardless of whether these accusations are true or not, one incontrovertible truth is that IPOB does have a militia and a militia is by definition a private army, and the use of the private resource is dictated by the opinions of individuals.
It is important to keep in mind that IPOB is a private group that wants political power and authority without having to submit itself to the Igbo people via the electoral process.
A group that seeks political power and authority and refuses to make itself available for elections is acting from a desire to not be accountable to the people it wants to be in charge of. It is really that simple.
It is easy to tell when you see Igbo people focused on ways to improve Healthcare, Education, Infrastructure, etc in the region.
Anyone who claims to expect a referendum from an institution that it doesn’t trust to hold a governorship election is lying and angling for violence for selfish reasons.
Elections are very flawed here but we have seen the Peter Obis emerge to the benefit of the Igbo people.
Control of LGAs
Control of NASS seats
Control of Governorships.
These are channels that a sincere IPOB could use to start improving the lives of Igbos while angling whatever boundary adjustments It deems to be beneficial.
IPOB rejects electoral participation but then legitimises the outcome by making demands of the governors and legislators that emerge from the ballot box. It seeks to hold others accountable while rejecting anything that would make it accountable.
The Igbo people who will bear the brunt of whatever comes from IPOB’s actions must be allowed to hold IPOB accountable.
IPOB should not be allowed to have a militia. A military force must be answerable to the General Public and subject to a clear set of rules and regulations that are universally agreed on by the society it exists in.
There is nothing to be gained from switching from Northern Dictatorship to Igbo Dictatorship.
There is no point in going from Kunu-Colonisation to Nkwobi-Colonisation.
War is messy anywhere but a War in a non-democratic African society is a way messier situation. The messiness of War is why the word ‘Sabo’ (which is shorthand for “Saboteur”) has a unique connotation for the Igbo people who remember its genesis in the Nigerian Civil War where merely being branded as one could be enough to get you executed in Biafran Territory.
If IPOB is allowed to establish the ESN, I can bet that at some point, there will be killings of Igbos who don’t support the movement.
Time has shown that this is how these situations unfold anywhere in the world.
People get unbearably militant when they have some power but no responsibility or accountability. The simplest way to mellow out unreasonable aggression is to give it RESPONSIBILITY.
Criticism of IPOB does not in any way absolve the Buhari Administration and Northern Nigerian elite of their primary role in creating this abhorrent and easily avoidable mess that we are in.
Buhari has changed Nigeria forever with his malice and incompetence and when he’s gone, everyone will rightfully focus on regional development.
The North and the South will not trust, love or like each other for the next 100 years but they can live in peace and do business so that should be the focus.
The long-term safety and progress of the Igbos are dependent on the quick development of the Region and the presence of an uncontrollable ethnic militia that would predictably degenerate into commercial criminal institutions will make everything harder.
Igbos have been treated very unfairly by Nigeria for half a century and have every right to be livid but for their own sake, their responses chosen should be calmly thought through and focus on the right long-term goals. Righteous anger will not make poor strategy beneficial.