“The current trajectory is a road to desolation. Let us get around the table and talk. Let the elite in the closet come out and let’s debate our future and forge a consensus. The elite conspiracy of silence should end.”
When Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo was announced as the winner of last November gubernatorial election in Anambra, he clearly knew he had his job cut out for him as the activities of unknown gunmen would pose the biggest threat to his reign.
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It is no longer news that the eastern region of the country has over the years become a hub for maiming, killings and wanton destruction of citizens’ properties, occasioned by the activities of the miscreants tagged ‘unknown gunmen.’
The origin of these so-called unknown or faceless gunmen is allegedly traceable to the military wing of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, known as Eastern Security Network, ESN.
The group, under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu, has over the years been actively clamouring for the creation of an independent Biafra nation from Nigeria.
But instead of the outlawed group to adopt a legitimate approach in registering their grievances, they subscribe and resort to violence.
It is also on record that IPOB militants have been enforcing the sit-at-home order every Monday across the entire five states of the eastern region since Kanu was re-arrested. According to the group, this is to serve as a means of solidarity and to force the government to succumb to their demand for his unconditional release.
This order has been crippling the economic activities of the region and causing a lot of harm.
In the midst of this madness, one thing that has been lacking in the region is leadership – the presence of a strong, loud, respected voice that can rein-in the IPOB extremists. It looks as if since the passing of charismatic leaders like Emeka Ojukwu, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alex Ekwueme and others, the South East has lacked a rallying figure that can speak sense into the youth and everybody will follow. While the present-day political leaders get busy with their corrupt and selfish politics that alienates the people, a certain Kanu emerged from one corner in London to fill the huge leadership vacuum but he has obviously done a bad job at it, having armed the youth with fake news, hateful messaging, divisive rhetoric, violent narratives, and mobilised them for all the wrong causes.
It is gratifying to learn that Governor Soludo is taking the right steps, saying the right things and making himself that Philosopher-King that has been lacking in that region for years.
He has stepped up efforts to stem the rising tides of insecurity haunting the state and the region at large. He has promised to grant amnesty to IPOB members who lay down their arms and embrace peace.
To that effect, the governor has just appointed and unveiled a 15-member Truth, Justice and Peace Commission to negotiate peace with the group.
The former CBN governor has done in days what other governors in the zone have not been able to do in years.
If Soludo continues this way, the South East may soon regain its mojo and trace its way back to the old peaceful, industrious and enterprising part of Nigeria.
Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi wrote from Kano