Igbos in Nigeria Movement has urged the people of the south-east states to be discerning in their choices in the general elections saying that strategies that have failed the region in the past must not be repeated again since they will yield the exact same results.
The movement, which spoke through its President, Maxi Ifeanyi Igwe in Abuja on Friday also urged Igbos to cooperate with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in ensuring that the elections are not hijacked by thugs that hide under agitation to foment trouble.
Igwe called on Igbos to disregard the call by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu for the boycott of the elections even as he noted that such demand can only be made by someone that is interested in getting the Igbos to be labelled as anti-democratic elements that did not support the entrenchment of democracy.
He stressed that “The Igbo states, being peaceful, would not have needed the Army’s nationwide Operation Python Dance had IPOB and other divisive elements not engaged in a needless sabre-rattling that created the impression that war is afoot. But this is not who we are in Igboland, we are pro-democracy any day and we will not allow history to misjudge us as a people because of a few recalcitrant renegades.
“Every other geo-political zone has been agitating for restructuring and what we have seen them doing is getting candidates across the spectrum to commit to pursuing this agenda. The people of these other geo-political zones have in essence made a strong statement that the agitation for true fiscal federalism will pick up pace once they have elected candidates that are favourably disposed to restructuring.
“The south-east cannot, in this sense, be different by trying to achieve the same objective through violence and calling for the disintegration of the country as IPOB and Kanu are doing. The region must also not make itself unnecessary enemies by being abusive of other ethnic nationals and directing hate speech against them as we have seen from Kanu since he resurfaced from hiding,” he noted.
Igbos in Nigeria Movement’s president counselled against bloc support while asking that Igbos should freely vote for candidates of their choice without feeling coerced. According to him, “Past experience has shown that Igbos are singled out for undesirable special treatment each time they vote as a bloc for a candidate, something that the other ethnic nationalities do not do. Other geo-political zones allow their people to vote for candidates of their choice, which ensures that whoever emerges the winner will not feel than an entire geo-political zone or ethnic group voted against them.
“This is why we advise those creating the false impression that the entire Igbo nation has endorsed any one particular candidate to desist from the unwholesome act as it would be unfair for them to set up the entire south-east for victimization when a wrongly endorsed candidate loses the election as happened in the past.
“We also urge our people to shun violence and other political actions that inimical to the growth and development of Nigeria. This appeal becomes necessary given the worsening instances of threats and counter threats that politicians are issuing against each other. Our people need to read between the lines and appreciate that the ancestral homes of these candidates and cities where they have huge business investments will at no time record political violence even if we allow impassioned support for the them to ignite Igboland.
“Not only must the people refrain from violence we urge our people in Igboland to support the Nigerian Army and all security agencies that have deployed to maintain the peace during the elections. The support to the army and other agencies is to ensure that thugs that have been hired to unleash violence on the political opponents of their paymasters do not succeed. The people must also be careful of the incitement from IPOB and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is now clearly acting out a script that does not accommodate the interest of the Igbos,” Igwe charged.
Buhari’s Desperation to Win Caused Election Postponement, Says CUPP
The Coalition of United Political Parties has claimed that the desperation of President Muhammadu Buhari and his men to win the presidential election, by all means, was responsible for the last minute postponement of the election.
The coalition’s spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, made the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Saturday morning.
He said, “In their bid to once again foist an unpopular government on Nigerians, they threw caution to the winds and started setting electoral materials on fire in states that are well known to be strongholds of opposition.
“These acts of sabotage, no doubt, ruined the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the elections.
“We have raised the alarm many times that agents of the government were working hard to ensure that elections are not held or are declared inconclusive in areas they know that the All Progressives Congress will never win. We have been vindicated.
We blame the international embarrassment this last minute postponement has caused the nation on the President, the desperate leaders of his party, APC, and the nation’s security agencies who failed woefully in their duties to protect electoral materials and INEC offices from attacks by these enemies of the nation.”
Ugochinyere added that with the postponement, “President Buhari’s judgement day with the people has just been shifted.”
He, however, said the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, displayed courage by shifting the election.
He said the postponement averted what he could have resulted to “national bloodshed because we are aware that APC wanted to proceed with election after compromising distribution and destroying materials in over 15 states.”
PDP Asks INEC Chairman to Resign, Accuses APC of ‘Grand Conspiracy’
Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has asked Mahmood Yakubu to resign as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Speaking through Ike Abonyi, his media aide, shortly after the elections were postponed by INEC, Secondus said his party was rejecting the new dates.
He said it was a “deliberate, pre-determined agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power even when it’s obvious to him that Nigerians want him out”.
Secondus said the postponement was part of a “grand design” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to thwart the will of Nigerians “at all cost”.
He said the APC “in connivance with INEC have been trying all options including but not limited to burning down INEC offices in some states and destroying of electoral materials to create artificial problems upon which to stand for their dubious act”.
“With several of their rigging options failing, they have to force INEC to agree to a shift in the election or a staggered election with flimsy excuses pre-manufactured for the purpose,” he said in the statement sent to TheCable.
“For the avoidance of doubt the PDP sees this action as wicked and we are also aware of other dubious designs like the deployment of hooded security operatives who would be ruthless on the people ostensibly to scare them away.”
Secondus said the “wicked killing” of over 60 persons mostly women and children in southern Kaduna on the eve of election “is a copious ploy by the APC to frighten the people away from voting knowing too well that they were not going to record any vote from the area”.
“Recall that the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai had earlier threatened international election observers of going to their country in body bags and with the fatal violence in the state on the eve of election, it’s clear what the motives are, to frighten the observers from the state so that he can carry out his nefarious acts,” he said.
The PDP chairman also drew the attention to the statement of President Muhammadu Buhari that nobody can unseat him from office as an indication of what he wanted to do.
I Haven’t Fled Nigeria —Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said he has not fled Nigeria, contrary to a social media report that he had travelled out of the county ahead of the presidential election scheduled for Saturday.
Obasanjo spoke with newsmen at his Presidential Library, Abeokuta, describing the Social media post as “fake news.”
The former president was reacting to a Facebook post of one Gbenga Lawal who posted: “Breaking: Obasanjo jets out of Nigeria. He can’t even wait for the thief he is imposing on Nigerians.”
In his reaction, Obasanjo said “Why should I travel out of the country before the election?
“If not for anything, I believe I should be here to perform my civic responsibility, which is to vote according to the dictate of my heart tomorrow and on the second of March.
“Those who are carrying that type of rumour or fake news; I leave them in the hands of God; I am used to that kind of thing.
“In Yoruba land, if your head is hard, you don’t have to worry yourself.
“Let anybody tell lies against you, let anybody issue fake news against you, let anybody abuse you, God will deal with them rightly and appropriately.”
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