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Between Logic and Emotion: The Emergence of a New Order and a Brief Study of the Sit-at-Home Agitation in Ana Ìgbò

Posted by Editor | 7 days ago | 1390



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By Chukwuemeka Obinwugo
 
 
THE behavioral revolution is a major turnaround in political studies and agitations. It introduces radical methodological reorientations, promotes inter-subjectivity, and “identifies the behaviour of individuals or groups of individuals as the primary unit of analysis” (Eldersveld & Katz 2007).
 
For 5 weeks and still counting, our social media spaces have gone agog solely on the current phase of the long-drawn agitations in Ana Ìgbò (southeast Nigeria). A brief rehash of the timeline may suffice as follows.
 
On 29 June 2021, Nnamdi Kanu—the leader of IPOB and the greatest voice of the recent agitations in Ana Ìgbò—was abducted and held in the DSS custody.
 
On 9 August 2021, a Monday-Sit-at-Home order was issued by the DOS of IPOB but was hurriedly canceled. However, the cancelation met a strong resistance from the masses in Ana Ìgbò (mostly Ìgbò traders) who really wished to do something in solidarity with Nnamdi Kanu who was suffering in the DSS custody. Hence, the Sit-at-Home agitation commenced and continued on every Monday till date.
 
Consequently, a group of social media influencers (suspected to be paid...), stormed the social media to discredit the merits of the agitation and influence the agitators to end the Sit-at-home protest exercise.
 
From my observations, these influencers have a pattern: Their media weapons are launched every Monday, with a variegated narrative ranging from violence, disruption of examinations, economic sabotage, etc. The strongest of their weapons being economic sabotage, they are determined to blackmail IPOB as a body and the Sit-at-Home agitation with the aim to liquidate all.
 
Beyond these “facades of Concern” by these Anti-Sit-at-Home Social media intelligentsia (aka ottellectuals), I would like us to look at the indices of this agitation with both Clear Eyes and Deep Insight. To this end, one must look at this agitation from both the perspectives of Instant Gratification and Deferred Gratification. And that is where Emotion and Logic come to play as complimentary factors and not competing factors. 
 
So, who is an agitator? 
 
According to Olukayode Segun Eesuola, “An Agitator is a man of peculiar behavioral composition, his personality having been formed through an interplay of social factors that make him the type that bothers to take EMOTIONAL extra look and pay critical attention towards public policies and practices that others are often silent about. (Explaining Political Agitators: Socialization and Class in the Making of Gani Fawehinmi and Fela Anikulapo Kuti of Nigeria). 
 
From the above detailed definition, we can see that agitation is both a logical action as well as emotional action. In fact, agitations take flesh when a lot of Emotions are invested in it, logic rather does the job of a balancing agent (just like a citric acid in a sugar-mixed juice). 
 
Emotions are very powerful, even more powerful than logic. Nations have emerged, civilizations advanced, national prosperity built mostly because, first, people became passionate and patriotic about their own society. Passion and Patriotism are Emotional Acts and very powerful in nation-building. 
 
Emotions not logic makes a soldier go into the battlefield and die just to save a flag from falling down. This is because that flag is not just a piece of cloth to him but rather an Identity he is Emotionally attached to and invested in. Looking at the instant impact of such an act, it won’t make sense because it seems to have little impact on the enemy. But, looking at the deferred impact which will build confidence in one’s identity and spur the logical mind to innovate within that emotional identity, it starts making sense to die for a flag.
 
Are the Ìgbò in southeast Nigeria most “foolish” for embarking on a Sit-at-Home protest? 
 
Let us do some comparative analyses... 
 
On 13 May 1989, hundreds of student protesters in Tiananmen Square went on HUNGER STRIKE in order to speak or push for talks with Communist Party leaders. It is estimated that one million people joined the protests in Beijing to express their support for the students on hunger strike and to demand reform. The Chinese government still tried to forcefully suppress that agitation. 
 
The 1981 Irish hunger strike ended with 10 of the participants starving themselves to death, radicalizing Irish nationalist politics and leading to Sinn Féin becoming a mainstream political party.
 
In 1952, Sri Potti Sriramulu, an Indian agitator, fasted (without a drop of liquid/water) for 56 days and died on the 56th day of the Hunger Strike. Upon his death, a special state was formed for Telugu-speaking people, fulfilling his wish. 
 
During WWII, at the Pacific war, Americans suffered a very devastating defeat from Japan. Based on their supposed “Logic”, American Generals advised the American president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to give up and withdraw troops. The crippled president, in an Emotional outburst, stood up with his paralyzed legs from his wheelchair and with all the strength in him, told the Generals, “Do not Ever Tell Me It Cannot Be Done!” Roosevelt went ahead and sent some younger soldiers to the battlefield to strike at the heart of Japan. That special team succeeded but at the expense of their lives as very few came back alive from the suicide mission. (This event is commemorated in the popular film, “Pearl of Harbor”). 
 
On May 30 1969, during the Nigerian genocide on Biafra, a Jewish American boy, Bruce Mayrock, left the comfort of his home and set himself ablaze in front the UN building for a people many miles away from him. 
 
In 1803, at Dunbar Creek on St. Simon’s Island, Glynn County, Georgia, our Ìgbò ancestors resisted slavery by walking back into the waters and committing mass suicide. 
 
Reviewing and comparing these scenarios simply show that the Igbo—closing their shops and sitting at home once in a week as a targeted agitation form—are not the most “stupid” on earth after all. Records show that people have done far more “stupid” acts to agitate for a target. 
 
Now, what is the cause of this Sit-at-Home agitation? 
 
Ndị Ìgbò have, for long, felt marginalized and stifled from advancing their civilization. Their agitations have taken many shapes and patterns across centuries. From Slave trade resistance to Christian missionary resistance; from British invasion resistance mounted by Ekumeku and several Igbo groups to Aba Women’s War of 1929; from the Zikist movement to the costly resistance of the Nigerian genocide on Biafra between 1969 and 1970; and from to MASSOB to IPOB peaceful protest trickling down to today’s Sit-at-Home, among others. Fredrick Lugard, it was, who complained that the Igbo are too stubborn, recalcitrant and disloyal. But these attributes are often for a deferred gratification which would always clash with the agenda of an oppressor that borders on instant gratification. 
 
Furthermore, a critical observation of this Sit-at-Home revealed the following geo-economic considerations:
 
1. The compliance was mostly in the cities of Ana Ìgbò in Nigeria’s southeast such as Ọnịcha, Ọka, Nnewi, Enugwu, Aba, Owere, Abankalenke. 
 
2. Asaba and Igweọcha (Port-Harcourt), the Igbo cities in Nigeria’s south-south did not show full compliance. 
 
3. The 3 major market cities that primarily host other markets in the southeast, south-south and the north: Ọnịcha, Nnewi and Aba are in total compliance with the Sit-at-Home. 
 
4.These controlling-market cities are the bridge between the real owners of the market economy and the rest of the markets in the other zones. 
 
In the Ọnịcha axis, we have Main market, Ọchanja, Relief, Building material (by Ogidi axis), Electrical, etc. These markets control Enugwu, Ebọnyị, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa and all the Northern states. They also control West African markets like Cameroon, Togo, etc.
 
In Nnewi, we have Nkwọ Edo which leads in motorcycle parts in the whole of Nigeria and some of the West-African countries. 
 
In Aba, we have Ariaria main market, Cemetery, Ahia ọhụrụ, Shopping Center, etc. They feed and control Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Imo. Aba’s markets also lead in the supply of fabrics to the whole northern states and they also control Cameroon and other west African markets. 
 
The loudest point used by the anti-Sit-at-Home campaigners is “Economy”. In their argument, the Sit-at-Home is simply killing only ourselves economically and never affecting other zones outside the southeast. This is incorrect in my observations as market person, because the major beneficiaries of the economic activities in the southeast are not even the Ìgbò in the southeast. 
 
The major beneficiaries are:
 
1. The producers of the goods traded in those southeast markets. Most of them are foreign companies not Ìgbò people. To make it worse, some of these foreign companies run a monopoly on our own market and are STRONGLY backed up by the government of Nigeria. 
 
2.The government (both Nigeria and foreign) that collect taxes on those goods traded in the southeast market. They are not Ìgbò government (it is not Igbo government because the government system we operate is not an Ìgbò indigenous government system but a British colonial government system). 
 
3.The Banks that handle the transactions (including CBN) that emanate from goods traded in the southeast markets. Most of these banks are not Ìgbò-owned banks as you know it. 
 
Bearing these indices in mind, we can now see that this Sit-at-Home hits a lot of other people outside Ndị Ìgbò in southeast but a non-market person is much less likely to understand or see the sprawling network of other sufferers. 
 
When a trader experiences a low turnover, it affects the producer of the goods traded more than the trader himself because the producer makes more profit and needs that trader to trade more so that he can produce more. Therefore, this Sit-at-Home vibrates as far as China... It hits Nestlé, P&G, Unilever, Dufil, Prima Corp., Bua, etc, and tremendously shakes their cash flow while destabilizing their financial forecast. 
 
In that MDS logistics warehouse located in Harbor Estate, Ọnịcha where those foreign multinational companies dump their goods for the Ìgbò traders to slavishly trade for them and fill their pockets, activities have drastically slowed down because of this Sit-at-home and there is panic in the boardrooms whose members include some of our selfish elites and the pro-IPOB-proscription elements... 
 
That hawker who hawks Gala, La Casera, Coca-Cola, etc., under the scorching sun and rain while making “peanut money” and returning the “lion share” to UAC, Prima Corp, Coca-Cola, etc., is now sitting at home every Monday as the lion share drastically depreciates. Anyone saying that the Sit-at-Home is not hitting these companies whose goods thrive on the “on-the-go” market, is either ignorant, economically naive or self-deceiving.
 
The government has lost billions of Naira in taxes that should be remitted on the economic activities going on in the southeast. Of course, they may pretend that it does not affect them 🤣 but we know they are the ones desperately working backstage to end the Sit-at-Home agitation. Why? Because the money they collect daily from the traders and transporters are seriously going down as the Monday Sit-at-Home hits that nerve. 
 
VAT are collected on the daily transactions done by trading goods and services. Even the organized Hyper markets like Shoprite etc., currently complain of slow sales. This affects the volume of VAT collected from our space and sent to Abuja to be shared among the pot-bellied lazy baboons in Agbada wears. 
 
The Banks have also suffered loses, because after Lagos, Ọnịcha is the next market that gives these banks the highest volume of monetary transactions in Nigeria. This Sit-at-Home, believe it or not, is causing panic in the corporate headquarters offices in Victoria Island, Lagos. 
 
The CBN also feels the hit all the way from Abuja, as the interbank transactions depreciate drastically following the same Monday Sit-at-Home. 
 
Ụmụnne, they will not like to give you this information but know it today that the southeast markets are a major life-wire of the Nigerian Economy, the Chinese Economy, the European Economy, the American economy and our Sit-at-Home affects these economies in one way or the other. 
 
Now, does this Sit-at-Home affect us? Yes, it does greatly affect us but not as devastating as it is to the principalities mentioned above who reap off our sweat. These principalities are seriously hit by this particular agitation that they are desperately working backstage to crush it in our minds by blackmailing us with such phrases like “economic sabotage”. 
 
Why do I think so? 
 
Over the years, so many factors have frustrated these traders from maximizing their potential. Examples include the deliberate shutdown of the seaports closest to our access, destruction of our railway, the continued neglect of the disastrous roads leading to Ariaria market and other Aba markets as well as the Main market Ọnịcha access roads that are nothing to write home about. The touts unleashed in these market environments is a story of its own. The unstable currency fluctuations, high inflation, Market MONOPOLY!!! No serious and sustained outrage has been raised on these issues.
 
How come the sudden outrage and concern about our Economy by a group of some social media influencers bordering on the Sit-at-Home? Why do these concerns always take life every Monday when the Sit-at-Home holds? How come?! You can already answer these from the data so far exposed.
 
Finally, I wrote earlier that this agitation must be critically looked into from both the Instant Gratification and Deferred Gratification perspectives for better appreciation. 
 
The contemporary black person has been constantly accused of not thinking beyond his belly, that’s why he will sell off his land today simply because he is hungry and leave his child empty-handed in the future. On the contrary, the Ìgbò sacrificing their economic activities and Sitting at Home today are simply doing it because of the following: 
 
1. They wish to show solidarity to the one man, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who has constantly spoken out against the anomaly of the society and the need to change the status quo for the good of our children in the future and has consistently marched words with action. 
 
2. They wish to change the status quo of the economic environment that will usher in an enabling environment to encourage innovation, create more local products to be traded and force both the government and non-government principalities to listen to us. 
 
Do what they do today make sense now? They might not, to some people. 
 
Just like Bruce Mayrock setting himself ablaze made no instant sense and did not end the Biafran genocide instantly; just like the mass suicide of Ìgbò Landing did not make instant sense and did not stop the slave trade instantly, years later, we celebrate these events as Emotional Actions that made the most impacts. 
 
That is the power of Deferred Gratification 💪
 
So, for those writing epistles (as I have also done but on the contrary) on how the Sit-at-Home makes no sense, your judgments are just based on Instant Gratification Logic which, to me, is shallow and incomplete. To echo the erudite professor of economic history, Ọnwụka Njọkụ: In the pre-colonial period, the Ìgbò easily survived without imported goods but could not do without exchange of locally produced goods (Economic History of Nigeria 19th–21st Centuries, 2014, 2nd Edition). That pre-colonial era, to me, is the Era we truly owned an Economy but today, the reverse is the case. And so, if a painful end of today’s Sick and Sickening Economy will return us to our Locally Controlled Economy and for our children in the future to thrive better, I will rather say “let us go hungry today that our children may become prosperous”; “let us die today that our children may live”. As Chinua Achebe would say, “It is morning yet on creation day”.
 
Posterity has the final say.
 
K’anyị na-eje n’ubi...
 
©️Chukwuemeka Obinwugo 
14 September 2021
 

- Sept. 15, 2021 @ 10:10 GMT |

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