South East Development Peace Initiative, SDPI, has advised Ndigbo nationwide to resist the urge of joining the much talked about mass protest against the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

There has been a nationwide outrage against the current administration with flashes of protests in different parts of the country due to rising inflation, hunger and general hardship.

However, despite the growing bitterness, Nigerians in the South East region have stayed away from the protests, raising eyebrows from some prominent Nigerians who questioned why the zone has remained calm despite the biting hardship.

In particular, former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, while expressing surprise against situation said:

“I honestly don’t know why the South East is quiet, uncharacteristically quiet….”

Speaking after a meeting of the group in Enugu on Tuesday, its President, Hon Vitus Okechi said that the injustices against Ndigbo in Nigeria were such that they had no reason to protest, as they have faced more challenging situations in Nigeria.

Okechi, a local government chairman in Enugu State, expressed shock that other parts of the country were protesting just because of hunger when Ndigbo had serially suffered deprivation, marginalisation, discrimination, humiliation, neglect, and even higher level of hunger and deprivation.

He said, “Igbo people are used to suffering in Nigeria. Our people have been killed at the slightest provocation; our shops and businesses have been burnt and looted because we are Igbo.

“We have been neglected, afflicted, marginalised to the extent that what is happening now is not new to us.”

He recalled the post civil war era when every Igbo person was awarded £20 at a point the government was declaring ‘No Victor, No Vanquished,’ stressing that, “the people survived and heavens did not fall. Nobody protested.”

“Ndigbo were further purnished when the same government banned the importation of stock fish and second hand clothes- two major commodities traded in Onitsha and Aba, all targeted at ensuring that the defeated Igbo people remained down and out. There were no protests.

“We have all forgotten the 1974 indegenization policy, when shares and stocks owned by foreigners in businesses in Nigeria were to be relinquished to local interests.

“Of course the Igbo had been battered by the war and would not have the financial muzzle to compete. The North and West took centre stage in acquiring these shares and stocks which shifted the economic balance in their favour.

“Ndigbo have been at the receiving end in the affairs of the country and all efforts for equity and justice have fallen on deaf ears. Were there protests, NO!

“Today, the South East is the only geopolitical zone that has only five (5) states and 95 local government areas, while some geopolitical zones have as much as 188 local government areas.

“The sit-at-home in the South East is because of the incarceration of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. The sit-at-home has caused the Igbo losses in lives and properties. All the appeals to the federal government for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu have been rebuffed as an Igbo problem.

“We have been marginalized in every way. The roads in the South East are abandoned and neglected while the few motorable ones are made taxation points for security operatives.

“Outside that, some persons have sworn that no Igbo should be allowed to be president in Nigeria. That is while when it is the turn of the Igbo, political parties threw their tickets open even against their own constitution.

“In political appointments, we are treated like strangers. Even the Federal Character is jettisoned just to deprive the people. We are used to injustices in a country we have contributed immensely to its development. No! We can’t protest.

“We cannot protest because of hunger or any other thing in Nigeria. We have faced worse hunger, worse starvation and we survived.

“Those asking why we are not protesting are doing so to set us up for the slaughter as usual. We all recall several incidences where Igbo protesters were brutally murdered in the past.

“No one will achieve that with us now. We are wiser.

“We will continue to show support for President Bola Tinubu. We believe that he knows what he is doing. We are sure that the current hardship will be for the good of the country.

“Why didn’t these protests start during former President Buhari who laid the weak economic foundation.

“We are bold to support the government of President Bola Tinubu; we will also back him for a second tenure in office. We stand on his mandate.

“In our capacity, as a Pro-Igbo group, we add our voice to the call by Igbo leaders that no Igbo man anywhere should join the current hunger-induced protests,” the former Enugu Commissioner said.

Hardship: Why Ndigbo should refrain from anti-Tinubu protests – South East Forum

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