Those who claim that the #SitAtHome strikes in the South East are affecting only the economy of the South East are fibbing.
They are either doing so out of sheer ignorance of the interconnected ways the Nigerian economy works, or they are trying to hide the serious impact or toll
which this very strategic action is having on the national economy.
The South East is an economic powerhouse in so many respects.
It has to buy power, not so much because of its internally generated capacity, but because of other factors, including the pouring into the South East, of money from international remittances by the Igbo abroad, who have to support their relations at home.
While the Nigerian government, through its policies of economic strangulation of the East and its radical de-industrialization program have ensured that the South East is now a desert for big industries, with divestments, and lack of investment in large industries in the East...
over the years, local entrepreneurs have created local industries with small machine tools production.
Port policies and lack of investment in road networks and other necessary energy and logistical infrastructure by both the states and the federal authorities have made business and life generally difficult in the East.
But all told, the two factors of international monetary repatriation and local industrial and entrepreneurial initiatives have led to the creation of thriving businesses in the East. So, the South East is not inconsequential in the economic life of Nigeria.
The massive investment in education over the years has also created a very solid middle class which for the most part has buying power and determines the nature of economic exchange in Nigeria.
The Igbo also have a global network of exchange that is supranational.
Igbo enterprise is not only in Nigeria, it fuels Nigeria’s substantial international trade. 75% of the destination of goods imported in the Nigerian Ports at Lagos goes to the South East. If those imports dry up, Lagos ports become ghost operations.
The exchange of goods and services nationally has a great Igbo network, with the South East as the engine room of the Nigerian economy. If the East boycotts the goods manufactured by multinationals in Nigeria, many of their operations will collapse.
The Nigerian brewery will collapse. Nestle will collapse. Lever brothers will collapse.
There will be a consequence because, any careful study of the consumption pattern of various Nigerian groups, will indicate that the Igbo middle class constitute, as a result of social and...
economic orientation, the most significant consumers of the products of these factories. Igbo consumer data will indicate their substantial link to the sustenance of the Nigerian economy.
That power is what is now in use.
If the South-East boycotts Nigeria for a day, the national economy dips. That is the very dangerous aspect of the sit-at-home strike in the East. It is hitting Nigeria in her very pocketbooks.
It cannot be ignored. The effects are not confined only to the South East. The neighbouring states – Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, right up to Edo, whose economic lives are far more integrated with the economic and social lives of the South East in more...
significant ways than is immediately clear to the layman, is equally powerfully impacted.
Even the sale of cattle from the North, if halted for a day in the East, sends shockwaves to the commodities futures.
As the data is already indicating, more cattle are consumed in the South East of Nigeria than in any other part of this federation as a result of the weekly burials; title-taking ceremonies; domestic meat consumption, and all such things for which enormous resources are expended
in keeping the cattle trade flush. So, it is not true that it is only the economy of the South East that suffers.
The hoary impact is multiple: governments of these South Eastern states lose revenue through sales tax or VAT; police and military folks have one day that they lose enormous “roger” because they do not see anybody to extort; but above all, national exchange halts for that...
single day of the week, and the Federal Government of Nigeria bleeds significant local revenue.
This is quite aside from the fact that empty streets are not good for the business of government. No power wants to rule over graves or empty streets.
That is the significance of the “Siddon-Look” action which is currently going on in the East.
A great Igbo politician and one of Nigeria’s firebrand nationalists, Mazi Mbonu Ojike, a brilliant economist, did once put that power in clear terms when he led the “boycott” movement...
against British goods in Nigeria as part of the defiance campaigns by the anti-colonial Nationalists. “Boycott the Boycottable” – he declared.
That was the mantra. The South-East is leading a powerful defiance movement.
It is hurting the pockets of Nigeria and biting hard at the proconsular forces who think they govern the Igbo, but increasingly have no authority over the Igbo people of South Eastern Nigeria.
Now, this is the first phase of this movement: it would grow even more powerful, I predict, as more and more people realize the power of the “Siddon-Look Movement,” and join it nation-wide. I’m almost tempted to predict that first, the Igbo everywhere in Nigeria will join this...
movement nationwide and it would grow into other dimensions of defiance. As soon as other oppressed Nigerians realize the power of this brilliant movement they too will join. For years, governments have relied on the power of coercion to subdue public protests.
They have shot and killed unarmed Nigerians expressing through public marches, their grievances against the Nigerian state. The latest of such killings was in the #ENDSARS protests in which soldiers were mobilized to shoot and kill unarmed citizens on the streets, and very often,
these soldiers who are ordered to kill Nigerians go scot-free.
The lives of these Nigerians were wasted for no reason other than the need for a show of primitive force, and without consequence. That is the great beauty and brilliance of “Sit-at-Home.”
Soldiers armed to the teeth will have nobody to shoot at on the streets and kill. There would be no excuse to block the streets. It is the most peaceful of all peaceful protests to just sit at home, and do nothing.
Refuse to participate in the social life of the day, just to register your protest. The impact is devastating. An empty street haunts the government. Do this for one month, and the government of the day will feel the vast yawn of the abyss.
The sit-at-home brings home the very fact that the people are supreme – “Oha Ka” – in spite of the pretensions of men who think they have power, and imagine that they matter more than the “ordinary Nigerian.”
But when this “ordinary Nigerian” sits at home and says, let’s see who really owns the land, Umahi and co who have talked rot about this matter begin to quiver and quibble about not being affected; about their children being safe abroad. Lie.
Their children are not safe abroad.
For one thing, they are all immigrants. They get lost in the vast crowd of strangers and become estranged from themselves and their fathers. They become “nothing” abroad. All that move to “send them abroad” becomes meaningless, because in the end, they reject everything...
their parents stood for.
They never return to the land. And if they ever return, the land no longer embraces them, because they become strangers to it. That’s the great price they pay.
All their strivings become as meaningless as washing hands just to crack palm kernels for chickens. Bloody pointless work.
But back again to this Siddon-look defiance movement shaping up in the SouthEast. What makes it work is that the people are impelled by reason.
They've nothing else to lose.
Young men and women have no jobs, and so, they have nowhere to go. Markets close because, even if you open your shops, no one is going to buy from you. All the shopping are done a day or a week earlier in preparation for this general day of idleness.
Workers who are hardly paid, are no longer afraid of being sacked from government work.
They have nothing else to lose. Ordinary folk who are afraid of the police or the army shooting at them, or being run over by the convoy of some “big man,” have no interest in stepping on...
to the street on this day. There is basically no incentive to defy the summons to sit-at-home. In fact, this movement is no longer in the hands of the IPOB. It is now automatic.
I have been told that people are now forming local town committees, church committees, age grade and guild networks to enforce the sit-at-home among their members. This is just one indication that the Igbo of the South-East are organized at various layers.
You strike down one layer, another layer rises.
There is not a single head of the Igbo from which authority drips down. The leadership of the Igbo is hydra-headed. Strike off one, another head sprouts.
Last week the governors of the East declared they’d end the Sit-at-Home. But how? These are not the leaders of the Igbo of the South East. They have neither the authority nor the capacity to force the Igbo out of their homes to come out from their seclusions.
Very clearly, these governors of the South East no longer enjoy the support, the respect, or the trust and goodwill of the people. The people are estranged from them, as they are estranged from the Federal government. Why? Because folks feel betrayed.
Besides, they know that a man who did not win an election and was only appointed by a very corrupt Supreme Court owes his loyalty not to the people, but to his employers. It is as simple as that.
This “Siddon-Look” movement is brilliant because it is peaceful, non-violent resistance at its very best. All the attempts to undermine it, and to accuse the IPOB of using force to achieve compliance to a peaceful method of protest is poor propaganda. It ignores precedence.
Years ago during Obasanjo’s administration, the same Igbo called for a nationwide sit-at-home, and there was full compliance.
The very stubborn Igbo are not people you force or threaten to comply with what they do not believe in. They’d rather die.
But once they agree to it, expect full, unambiguous loyalty. This is the whole truth.

© Obi Nwakanma
Vanguard Newspapers.
NB: I personally don't subscribe to these views, but in my quest to have a balanced reportage of events and views, decided to serialize it here. I still believe that the Sit-At-Home strikes is akin to cutting your nose to spite your face and should be rescinded forthwith.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Olaudah Equiano®

Olaudah Equiano® Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @RealOlaudah

12 Oct
Store shelves were empty across the UK over the weekend.

Against the backdrop of the supply crisis, one in three Britons began to stock up Christmas supplies ahead of time, and one in six said that they could not buy basic foodstuffs.
The excitement was caused by problems with the supply of gas to the country, as well as the closure of some gas stations in the UK due to a lack of truck drivers.

The Bank of England said inflation will temporarily exceed 4% for the first time in a decade later this year, mainly
due to energy and commodity prices. Six energy providers ceased operations this month, causing nearly 1.5 million customers to see billing increases.
Read 4 tweets
12 Oct
Britain needs to find a better role for its former prime ministers.

Creating a special parliamentary post could allow the country to benefit from their experience.
When she rose to speak in the emergency debate on Afghanistan, the Commons fell silent.
With an assassin’s precision, Theresa May fired several rounds at her successor, Boris Johnson. “Was our understanding of the Afghan government so weak?” she asked of the UK’s response to the Taliban. “Was our knowledge on the ground so inadequate?”
May, whose 2016-19 tenure in Downing Street achieved little of substance, has discovered newfound fame by returning to the backbenches. Whether on cuts to foreign aid, role of the national security adviser, or overriding the Brexit trade deal, her interventions have resonated.
Read 18 tweets
11 Oct
Warfare, State Building, and the Sacralization of Iron in West African History

A thread series.
Along the Guinea Coast of West Africa there is a cluster of conquest states that rose to power in the period between 1400 and 1700, and dominated large areas of the forest belt for several centuries.
Their domination was based on well organized and heavily equipped armies using a highly developed iron technology and, in some cases, mounted divisions. These states included the Edo kingdom of Benin, the Fon kingdom of Dahomey, and a series of Yoruba kingdoms, the most...
Read 71 tweets
10 Oct
I was a child during the Nigerian Civil War but I have good memories of the destruction and death from the war itself and the death from kwashiokor of at least a million children who died of starvation.
I remember the death of my uncle Godson, my father's youngest brother and a Biafran soldier, and the wailing anguish of my now late grandmother at his funeral. The lives and futures of so many brilliant young men and women wasted in a conflict not of their making.
Till tomorrow, I continue to believe that Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu's violent coup of January 1966 (which ultimately failed as it was suppressed) was a wrong move, because that's what started the violent phase of the Nigerian crisis (there was a political crisis already).
Read 34 tweets
9 Oct
US looses control to China over the $ 46 billion lithium battery industry.

United States has ranked # 2 in the global lithium-ion battery supply chain rankings this year, according to Bloomberg.
The US is the second-largest electric vehicle market in the world after China, and Tesla and Asian battery manufacturers are making “significant” investments in the country as government policies help build an internal battery supply chain.
China continues to dominate the rankings thanks to continued investment and strong local and domestic demand for its lithium-ion batteries. The Asian country now hosts 80% of all battery cell manufacturing capacity, with capacity expected to more than double, enough to power more
Read 5 tweets
9 Oct
Opinion Football
Newcastle sale to Saudi Arabia is the latest sign of a national malaise.

Anyone surprised that Britain welcomes such shady money hasn’t been paying attention.
In John Osborne’s 1957 play The Entertainer, the fading old music-hall performer Archie Rice becomes the symbol of a fading old Britain. Rice boasts, pathetically: “I’ve played in front of them all.
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, and the . . . what was the name of that other pub?” Anyone wanting to portray Britain today would use another image: a failing cash-strapped football club, which has won nothing for decades, selling its last remaining...
Read 20 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!