The declaration of a sit-at-home in the South-East by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra appears to be at the verge of failure as various groups in the region have scoffed at the order.
IPOB said the order, scheduled for May 30, was to mourn its members, who were allegedly killed by agents of the Federal Government on the day two years ago.
In its reaction, the Anambra State Government described the sit-at-home order as “anarchical”.
In an interview with Punch, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba, said the state would not tolerate such action.
Adinuba said, “Investment is a coward; it does not thrive in an atmosphere of anarchy and disorder.
“Any Igbo group that creates an impression that Igbo society is anarchical is crazy.
“Anambra State is reputed as the most peaceful state in the country. So, we can’t tolerate this IPOB’s anarchy. Our people should not obey such deceitful call.”
Also, the Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Saturday, appealed to all pro-Biafran agitators to adopt a new approach to engage the Federal Government on the perceived marginalisation of the Igbo.
The Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chuks Ibegbu, made the appeal while reacting to the sit-at-home order by IPOB.
Ibegbu, who spoke with Punch, said Ohanaeze position had always been that Nigeria had to be restructured.
“If we say we want to remember the dead and casualties of the past and the war, it makes a lot of sense but closing down the economy of your own people; I don’t know if that is beneficial to the same people you say you are fighting for,” he queried.
He urged the leadership of IPOB not to do things that would put the Igbo at more disadvantageous position.
“Ohanaeze President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has always made it clear that IPOB and MASSOB are our children but they have to put us into confidence too,” said the Ohanaeze deputy spokesman, suggesting that IPOB did not consult the apex Igbo body before declaring the order.
In his own reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, Comrade Samuel Edeson, said the sit-at-home order by IPOB was not mandatory for all Igbo to observe.
According to him, MASSOB is not against the sit-at-home order by IPOB, stating that MASSOB has its own programme for the May 30 date.“Each group has the right to organise its programmes.
Even that 30th (of May), all the pro-Biafran agitators have fixed their own programmes.
“So, IPOB’s sit-at-home order is in line with its activities. The sit-at-home is not by force; it’s voluntary. Whoever feels like can join,” he said.
In the same vein, the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, said IPOB had no constitutional right to declare such order.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Uzor, the governor noted that the only people that would obey the sit-at-home older were members of IPOB, who were adherents of the tenets and principles of the group.
“We have to go about our businesses come May 30, 2019. IPOB cannot ask the Igbos to sit at home this day and not to go about their legitimate businesses. It has no constitutionally and legal backing to do so.
“So, we are not perturbed by this singular sit-at-home threat by IPOB,” he said.
Also, the apex socio-cultural youth organisation in Igbo land, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, on Saturday, stated that IPOB should factor in the plight of the Igbos scattered all over the country before conceiving the idea of a sit-at-home order at this time.
The President-General of the youth body, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said IPOB should be more perturbed at this time by the economic debacles confronting the nation than declaring a sit-at-home order.
Isiguzoro said, “This is not the best time to issue an order to a region currently faced with much economic crises to sit at home.
“The economic situation of Nigeria is bad now, and asking the southerners not to go anywhere for 24 hours is not wise economically.
“Instead of asking our people to sit at home come May 30, we want to suggest that this day be used to make peace between the Niger Delta youths, led by Asari Dokubo, with the principal leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Our people have suffered so much and this is not the best of time to show power. Yes, it’s a day annually set aside to honour fallen Biafran heroes, but let’s thread with caution.”
But the Anambra State chapter of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo said there was nothing wrong with the call by IPOB on South-East residents to sit at home on May 30.
Speaking with Punch in Awka, the Anambra State Ohanaeze President, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, said IPOB had the right to make such pronouncement.
He said, “I don’t see anything wrong with the call provided they don’t become violent that day.
“It’s part of our culture to set out a day to remember and honour our dead ones. There’s nothing wrong about that. We will only condemn their action if it turns out to be violent.”