The current spike in attacks by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Enugu since the state governor, Peter Mbah, announced an end to the Sit-at-home order in the state three weeks ago has been attributed to the lack of preparedness for leadership by the new helmsman.
According to a civil society organisation based in Enugu, the Oriental Lawyers for Justice (OLJ), the worsened security problem has seen at least eight kidnappings in the capital in the last two weeks plus the attack on the New Haven station of the Pinnacle Oil and Gas Company owned by the governor in the early hours of Wednesday last week “show that, contrary to the assertions of those who packaged him for the recent election which he nevertheless lost, Mbah is just another politician and wheeler-dealer rather than a clear-headed leader with a focus on how to get our dear state cracking in the right direction”.
If he had prepared himself for high office, the OLJ said in a statement signed by JohnBosco Aninwede, its president, and Mrs Ifeoma Ejike, the secretary, he would have learned from the experience of Governor Chukwuma Soludo of neighbouring Anambra State who in his inaugural speech in March, 2022, announced a war against so-called freedom fighters in the bush, only to face an unprecedented rise in attacks by IPOB members throughout the state, especially in his Isuofia hometown and Aguata Local Government Area whose headquarters was bombed.
“There is no doubt that IPOB has been responsible for the attack on Mbah’s private petroleum firm, as the perpetrators came in a large number of tricycles and armed with rifles, charms, and the notorious red headband worn by the Eastern Security Network (ESN), IPOB’s military wing”, declared the OLJ.
“And everyone knows that Pinnacle is targeted because of Mbah’s moves against IPOB”.
The nongovernmental organisation said that Simeon Ekpa, a top IPOB leader based in Finland, has openly mocked Mbah for lack of legitimately because he didn’t win the Enugu governorship election.
The lawyers argued that no serious leader would announce the cancellation of the stay-at-home order which is enforced with savagery throughout the Southeast every Monday without providing enough security forces on the ground and without constituting his cabinet because tackling profound insecurity is not a one-man show.
“By the time he announced an end to the order by the nonstate actors, the new governor had appointed only the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Chidiebere Onyia, and no other person into his administration”, noted the Oriental Lawyers for Justice.
“It was after he had begun to implement the order which failed spectacularly on the first Monday that it occurred to him to consult stakeholders in the state like traders, transporters, religious leaders, traditional rulers, students, town union officers, and the rest to brief them on his plans”.
They added that Mbah was marketed beyond his knowledge and skills by his handlers who “tried to mesmerise our people with his personal wealth and his manifesto promise to increase Enugu’s economy from $4bn to $30bn within four years, even though he has never supplied information on how he plans to achieve this feat”.
The lawyers observed that though they are against IPOB for its streak of violence and such illegal acts as the curfew it imposes on the Southeast weekly, “Mbah has gone about cutting down the secessionist group to size the wrong way because of his poor poor skills as a public leader.
“If he had genuinely won the March 18 gubernatorial election, he would have acted more rationally, and not in this knee-jerk manner meant to get accepted by the Enugu people who rejected him and his Peoples Democratic Party resoundingly in the 2023 general elections.”.