By Uche Amunike
About 2 months after the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, announced the suspension of the weekly sit-at-home exercise for every Monday, the whole of the south-east has continued to observe the exercise, that notwith standing.
In the message released through their spokesperson, Mr Emma Powerful, the secessionist group expected that they have decided to call off the exercise because of the plea of the people who complained of the losses incured economically in the Southeast as a result of the exercise.
They mentioned that suspending the exercise would aid Senior Secondary School students of the zone to take their West African School certificate examinations WASCE on peace. It also mentioned artisans who survived only by the work they do on a daily basis as that is the only means they have to provide for their families.
The statement further stated that the sit-at-home order will only be observed on the days that their leader, Nnamdi Kanu will appear in court.
Surprisingly, in spite of the call off of the sit-home order, Southeastern States, including Anambra have continued to remain home on Saturday.
Strangely, people suspected to be members of the group have always gone out to enforce compliance of the exercise every Monday even to the point of killing and destroying property, although IPOB says they have no hand in it.
The compliance is believed, however, to be out of fear than of people’s volition, owing to the violence being witnessed in the area.
As Anambra gubernatorial election approaches, people believe that because of the high level of compliance of people when the group gives orders, if they decide to repeat what happened in the 2017 gubernatorial election when they made a no-referendum, no-election announcement, they just might achieve their aim.
Recall that in the past two weeks, even though the usual Monday sit-at-home order was in place, the IPOB group still went ahead to announce that on Thursday of the week prior and Tuesday of the present week would also be sit-at-home days.
Several state governments in the South-East waded in and persuaded people from observing the events, but yet people complied with the IPOB directive, once again crippling the economic activities in the zone.
Before the exercise, Gov Willie Obiano of Anambra state had held a meeting with heads of banks in the state and market leadership, urging them to ensure that they do not shut down their normal activities.
He further stated that he will sanction banks and markets that failed to operate on sit-at-home days. He also personally went into the streets to ensure compliance. Notably, some banks visited by the governor quickly shut their gates against customers as soon as the governor left, out of the fear of being attacked by hoodlums.
Meanwhile, the Resident Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has stated during the Commission’s Monitoring and Support Centre Ember Month Implementer Workshop, that the sit-home order by IPOB has become worrisome as it was adversely affecting its preparation for the Anambra state governorship election, come November 6th.