Ebube Agu: Igbo leaders’ ego-massaging dummy tiger

It’s crystal clear that the condescending treatment and suppression of the Igbos are the upshot of the South-East leaders and their governors’ unctuousness and gusto to kowtow to the hoity-toity caliph President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC-led federal government.

These self-defeating foibles got to a nadir in Owerri on April 11, 2021, with the spur-of-the-moment establishment of a regional security outfit, christened Ebube Agu, to tackle the many-headed hydra of security challenges bedevilling the zone.

The communiqué issued bared their subservience and fawning sycophancy to President Buhari and also their flat-footed readiness to inaugurate a security outfit with a colossal responsibility to rid the Igbo nation of criminals.

First, it amounts to putting the cart before the horse to announce the formation of a security outfit (Ebube Agu) before asking heads of security agencies to list the logistics and the materials they need to tackle crimes in the zone.

Second, it’s obsequious flattering for the governors to “align themselves with the efforts of the federal government to find a solution to the security challenges in the country” when the FG has conceded defeat and handed the insecurity in Nigeria to the hands of God.

Third, it’s patronising for the governors to say that they “will complement the efforts of federal security agencies in tackling the security challenges in the region” when it is an open secret that the security personnel are perturbed by the existence of the IPOB members and not the carnages of the criminal herdsmen.

Fourth, it is hypocrisy for the governors to “announce the banning of open grazing and directing the security agencies to ensure its implementation” when cows still parade the nocks and crannies of the Igbo land even as you read this article with no arrest made so far.

Their declaration to adequately fund military policing in the South-East to become effective is ludicrous because some of the governors are starving the vigilante groups they established in their various states of funds. Some even owe them a backlog of salaries.

It is, therefore, shameful that they chose a sensitive issue such as the security of an entire tribe to grandstand and ego-massage President Buhari towards the actualisation of their obscure 2023 presidential ambition.

The President Buhari-led federal government has inflamed anger for Nnamdi Kanu’s Eastern Security Network (ESN). For the governors, maintaining a pococurante façade over their activities means acquiescence which could be misconstrued as a slight to the president and jeopardise the touch-and-go Igbo president in 2023.

The governors know that they embarked on a cul-de-sac. Before the formation of the ESN, they pooh pooed the suggestion of a regional security outfit for fear of incensing the FG even when other regions gave it a go. It is a sign of weakness. These and the failure of the security agencies to protect lives and property necessitated the formation of the ESN.

Not once or twice, the criminal herdsmen invaded communities in Enugu state at dusk and slaughtered people. The best the governor did was condolence visits to the families of the victims with unfulfilled promises to fish out the perpetrators.

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Recently, the Ebonyi state community fell victim to the Fulani herdsmen carnage. All Governor Dave Umahi (who doubles as the chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum) did was visiting the gory scene and shedding crocodile tears.

Weeks after the heinous crime, no arrest was made by the same security agencies the five eastern governors agreed to fund and entrust the operations of the so-called Ebube Agu to.

The people have lost confidence in the government and their biased security agencies to protect them. Unfortunately for the stooge governors, Nnamdi Kanu has given the people the proactiveness which they failed to provide.

Who are those they are planning to recruit into their lachrymose Ebube Agu when 80 per cent of Igbo youth — intellectuals, artisans, traders, Keke, Okada and bus drivers — are members of IPOB and believers in Nnamdi Kanu’s ideology and movement?

The monthly minimum wage of an ESN officer is N120,000, excluding other mouth-watering incentives. An average Igbo youth will find the ESN prepossessing than the Ebube Agu, the security outfit of the governors who find a derisory N30,000 minimum wage a herculean task to honour.

The Fulani herdsmen are lawless organised criminals wielding sophisticated firearms. From their body language, the FG and the security agencies are empathetic to and supportive of their lawlessness than curbing their intemperance.

It is cowardice to mollycoddle criminals who still see jihad as a legitimate means of possessing people’s ancestral homes in the contemporary age. Their motto is violence, not dialogue. Only a corresponding sect will match them.

Unless it’s a gambit to martyrise Igbo youth and placate Nigerian power brokers to rubber-stamp the Igbo president in 2023, the governors know that it is suicidal to square up to the AK-47-wielding bloodthirsty herdsmen (who are under the protection of security agencies) with Dane guns.

Igbos are renowned for their bravery. They are not namby-pambies the governors are portraying because of selfish political interest. Power is not given but taken. If they understood this philosophy, they’d limit the disgraceful brown-nosing and servile flattering of Buhari and his ilk.

Don Norman Obinna

Don Norman is the acclaimed author of 'Raped & Enslaved: Era of Kleptocracy'.

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