Ebube Agu: Igbos should count your teeth

The political leadership of the South East does not fail to amaze and in the equal measure, they don’t fail to disappoint. The individuals that form that clique at every dispensation seem to believe that they have more at stake when exercising irreverent caution than their predecessors. Each new one is worse than the previous one. The occupiers of that space of our life try to outdo themselves in pleasing some unknown powers or forces or, maybe, principalities than they would even move a limb to side their people. When they get to that high office, they forget completely that when you go by the sweetness of the egg, you may end up without eggs for sacrifice.

Recently, the governors of the geopolitical zone spoke up for the first time as worried people, although they did not speak as those whose house is on fire. They as usual, acted aloof and condescending. They didn’t speak like a fowl chasing after a grasshopper in the rain. They should know that their home is in need of their extra efforts for welfare. I learnt from my grandfather that a man whose house is on fire does not pursue rats. By the caressing hug of issues of security and destruction of economy that are hurting the people and denying them of sleep, our political leaders in the South East na-achu oke while their houses are on fire.

That was how I received the communiqué by the governors of the region after their meeting in Owerri, Imo State, at the beginning of this week. Initially in my thoughts, I went trivial, I wondered why the meeting did not hold in Enugu, the political capital of the region, to underscore its seriousness. Then I dismissed this flash by myself because I also felt that security and pure politics shouldn’t be mixed in such manner. However, the outcome of the meeting, as represented by that communiqué, left me wondering what the governor’s actually mean.

Yes, that meeting solved the issue of timing and how belated their coming together is. When a man wakes up from slumber will pass for his morning time. But the meeting failed grossly in addressing the real problems affecting the people.

When Ebube Agu was announced, I wouldn’t know if the governors expected the people to clap for them. If they did, they have their answers already: The people have sent their jeers and chorused “shaky-shaky governors shame on you shaaame!” as nursery school children sadly do nowadays. The people have lost hope and trust in these governments, in the governors.

The people hold that Ebube Agu is not Agu. What is the aura or the glory of the lion without the lion? Well, would it have been better for them to be a dog with a fight than a lion with broken limbs?

Ebube Agu is obviously without the agu. The governors are metaphorically saying that what they can muster is the ebube of the agu and that they cannot lead like the agu. They know that they are leading their people like cowards… A case of leading with the mindset that odum na-egbu agu (the tiger can kill a lion). In the South East, the people see the current initiative of their governors as laudable but laughable. To some of them, it’s like an effort too little too late and a finger across the lips for the people that have been complaining aloud. With Ebube Agu, they expect the people to now shut their mouth and watch them perform miracles they had been expecting of them since they got to office.

When the paramount Igbo socio-political organisation, the Ohaneze Nd’Igbo thought the governors would key into the steps taken by their counterparts in the South West region. The entire region waited for them and on them for an answer. We all believed that they would face the issue of banditry and sundry insecurity headlong but they developed cold feet. And their feet of clay were so disappointingly feeble that they turned the tide against their own people. Rather than give their people something in the semblance of an assurance, they turned off when they were needed most. When the erstwhile Inspector-General of Police (IGP) met with the governors and some of the political leaders of the region, Nigerians and indeed the people of the South East expected the announcement of a measure to tackle the growing insecurity. Rather, the governors stepped out of the meeting with pancake and brush to beautify the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The meeting turned out to be a whitewashed sepulchre as they praised Buhari for the second Nigeri Bridge and for the ascendancy of Dr Nigozi Okonjo-Iweala in the world arena.

The anger from that period, in which the South West governors had come with Operation Amotekun and stood their ground, fuelled the support that many in the region had given to the offering made by the proscribed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB). Of a fact, the announcement of Ebube Agu has thrown the people into some form of confusion as they have already keyed into the Eastern Security Network (ESN). This outfit the South East states and the federal government promptly declared as illegal and unacceptable, is a source of hope for the people. And with the Ebube Agu, there are questions on its acceptance because there is n trust in the governments and governors. To many of the people, Ebube Agu is an affront to their true yearnings, a design by the federal government to continually hold them in servitude. The ESN as espoused by IPOB represents their thoughts and belief; and many of the people, especially the younger generation, think that anything short of protecting what they have left of their battered life and economy from the marauders, by themselves, would not be trusted.

The people have their reasons, their fears and their painful experiences. There had been attacks in various forms and manners on them. The invasion of Ebonyi communities and killings there by Fulani herdsmen, which made Governor Dave Umahi to speak up for the first time, was just one of the many atrocities the people had endured. When Governor Umahi spoke up and got the backing of his people, he saw immediately that a man sent by his father to rob confidently breaks the door with his feet. But when they are ready to start Ebube Agu, who would be their recruits? How would they handle the ESN? How would they manage to bring the battered security agencies on board? Where is the trust? Where would the trust come from?

The governors have come with an after-thought in the frame of Ebube Agu. The people see it as a queer whimper in the face of a roaring problem; a pussy foot stepping on a land baked by the blood of innocent, weary masses.



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