Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) and other civil society organisations yesterday lauded the people of South-east zone for observing the sit-at-home order in honour of Biafran heroes, saying it was an indictment on the political leaders for disconnecting with the masses.
IPOB in a statement issued by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said Biafrans have courageously proved the futility of any effort to suppress lovers of freedom, adding that it has become clearer that â€œthe people listen to IPOB not South-east governors or Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
â€œWe salute the uncommon courage, determination and resoluteness of all Biafrans that defied the military threats, intimidation from Arewa Consultative Forum and South-east governors to sit at home across Biafra land.â€
It stated further that â€œwe commend the people of Ogoni, Idoma, Igede, Igala and others who afforded to observe and remember those that sacrificed their lives for us to be alive today. From Ogoja in the east to the border town of Igbanke in the west; from the Oturkpo in the north to the island of Bonny in the south, Biafrans observed in their own unique way a day of solemnity, reverence and respect for our departed heroes.â€
The separatist organisation noted that aside from the observance of the Biafra Day in some parts of Nigeria, IPOB family members in the Diaspora also rallied in over 100 countries across Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia and Africa.
On its part the ECA commended the leadership of IPOB â€œfor 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.â€
In a statement signed by the Secretary and Deputy Leader of ECA, Elliot Uko and Maria Okwor, respectively, the group which described IPOB as â€œthe most oppressed and most persecuted mass movement in the world,â€ said it has proved over and again that it could not be wished away.
â€œThe narrative that the agitators are a small, troublesome and violent group has been permanently destroyed last Wednesday,â€ the group said, adding that the truth that IPOB â€œproudly live in the hearts of the masses, has been roundly reaffirmed in a most dramatic manner.
â€œThe 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,â€ ECA stated.
ECA which is a coalition of CSOs also noted that the observance of the sit-at-home order was â€œa quasi-referendumâ€ on the urgency for the powers that be to heed to the call for restructuring Nigeria to make it workable.
The group reminded Southeast governors and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo that it was high time they realised that they worth nothing without the masses.