Residents of Enugu state on Monday ignored the new state governor, Peter Mbah’s order and went ahead to observe the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB.
Recall that on Thursday, Gov. Peter Mbah ordered that sit-at-home order be suspended.
According to Gov. Mbah, “there is no time to waste. The clock has started ticking on the mandate you gave me and deliverables I promised,” he reiterated.
“A time comes in the lives of a people when they must decide whether they genuinely want to move forward or remain stuck with the conditions of their underdevelopment.
“The creativity and sense of industry of Ndi Igbo are remarkable. Our DNA is wired with commercial and entrepreneurial prowess.
“If this is what we are known by, then it becomes inconsistent with reality that the spirit of entrepreneurship, commerce and creativity are killed every Monday in our land. Our restless spirit of industry abhors laxity and indolence.
“The idea behind sitting at home on Monday, the first working and business day of the week, is abominable and antithetical to greatness and the spirit of industry we profess to have inherited from our forebears. This cannot be us. Tufiakwa (God forbid). It does colossal damage to us”, he concluded.
Again, on Friday, Gov. Mbah issued another directive, threatening to close down all the markets, businesses and schools that didn’t comply with his new order.
However, on Monday, the directive seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as residents of the state stayed at home instead of going to their various areas of endeavours.
At Ogige main market, Nsukka there was no single trader inside the market. The market gate was opened by the authorities to avoid government’s hammer on them, but no trader was seen inside the market.
One of the traders, Marcel Ugwuogo who spoke to WITHIN NIGERIA on phone explained he didn’t open shop because of fear of the unknown gun men.
” How can you ask me to open shop today been Monday when there is sit-at-home order? I don’t want to be used as a scapegoat by the unknown gun men. Another problem is that even if you open today, you will not see any customer because everybody is sitting at home.”
According to Ugwuogo, “Mbah should do first thing first by trying to make sure that Nnamdi Kanu is released before talking of stopping sit-at-home order.”
In any case all the commercial banks in Nsukka were also under lock and key.
One of the managers contacted by our reporter explained that they were waiting for directive from their Head office in Lagos to start opening for customers on Mondays.
According to the staff, Governor Mbah’s declaration is not enough to take such risk and start opening on Mondays.
Some schools visited in the area were also shut because virtually all schools are currently on mid-term break.
Nevertheless, roads, streets and major high ways were also deserted as usually seen on Mondays.
However, in Enugu metropolis, the story was the same.
Though some commercial buses were seen operating along IMT/Polo axis, major roads like Otigba, presidential roads, and Old park were equally scanty.
By 11am, the state governor, Barr. Peter Mbah stormed some markets in the area, encouraging the traders to continue opening shops on Mondays.
Ministries and offices visited included Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry Capital Territory, Ministry of Inter-Ministerial Affairs and Special Duties, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant-General, Office of the Head of Service, Office of the Surveyor-General, among others, where he was received by the civil servants and heads of MDAs.
Mbah also visited several markets, including the Akwata section of Ogbete Market, Mayor Market situate along Agbani Road, among others, where he was warmly received by happy traders and their leaders.
He said productivity was key to all the promises he made to the people to drive investment inflow into the state, create jobs, and provide quality services.
He reminded the people that the power and mandate belonged to them, hence they should never allow people, who had no stake in the state’s economy to undermine the peace and prosperity of the Enugu State.
Speaking with newsmen after the monitoring exercise, Mbah, he said: “The primary objective of my visitations is largely to observe the level of compliance of the directive that we gave last week, declaring that we do not have sit-at-home in Enugu henceforth. The directive was meant to ensure that our people come out on the first working and productive day of the week.
“We do have a compliance level of about 60 to 70 percent; and the order took effect from today. I am aware the circular to this effect was sent out on Friday. It may well be that not all the workers got the information that we no longer have sit-at-home on Mondays.
“Whether we succeed or fail in ending sit-at-home, we do that together as Enugu people. If we succeed, our collective success means we can rise together against intimidation. It is not anybody’s or government’s success. We need to take collective responsibility for our decision.
“But the truth is that everything we have promised our people in Enugu is anchored on getting the flow of private sector investments into our state; and the private sector cannot come into a state where the people are not productive. The private sector thrives on big markets and a vibrant workforce.
“So, our people are known by their hard work, by their industry and commerce. So, we cannot have people, who kill these spirits in our people and dictate to us the day we should go to work and the day we should sit at home.
“We have to revive that spirit of hard work and culture of commerce and industry that our people are known for. We want to reinstate that; and that is exactly what we are doing”.
Mbah assured the people of government’s commitment to the security of lives and property every other day of the week, Mondays inclusive.
“Security of lives and property is essentially the oath we took and that is at the top of our priorities. We must ensure the safety of our people. And we have also said repeatedly that our people should go about their businesses.
“Let it not ever be heard that we are going to be listening to people, who do not stake in our economy and social welfare dictate to us when we must come out to work. It should not be heard of.
“Think about it, we are here today because we got the mandate of the people. So, could you then have somebody make you inferior without your consent?
Someone you have not given your mandate to lead you tells you to sit down and, somehow, you begin to sit at home. And he tells you to go, and you begin to go. That should not be acceptable. It actually undermines our dignity as a people and we shouldn’t endorse that”, Mbah declared.