Anambra Governorship Election: Civil Society group asks Buhari to prevail on IPOB to rescind lockdown threat

By: Odogwu Emeka Odogwu

A Civil Society organization, Civil Society Committee for Anti-fraud election securiy and other organizations led by Comrade Kennedy Iyere have called on former President, Abdulsalami Abubakar to prevail on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to rescind their threats on a 5-day lockdown of the South East during the Governorship Election.

The Civil Society group with other organizations like the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) South East zone led by the Vice President, Comrade Emmanuel Ifesinachi , Young People of Igbo Nation in Politics led by Hon Tony-Uche Ezekwelu and two political parties including African Democraric Change (ADC) led by its National Chairman,Chief Okey-Raphs Nwosu and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by the running mate to Mr Valentine Chineto Ozigbo , Chief Mrs Azuka Enemo addressed the media.

They called on the former President, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah to reach out to the President Mohammadu Buhari soliciting his cooperation in addressing the threats.

Addressing newsmen on Wednesday, the founder of the Civil Society group, Comrade Kennedy Iyere said treating the threats with levity by ignoring the group rather than calming the agitators would further escalate the situation.

He said his group established a situation room for the poll following alleged tactical plans to by some political gladiators to rig the polls, which he said would not be good for the nation’s nascent democracy.

He said, “We’re here to address certain critical threats if not checkmated will affect the people’s choice. Among them is that of IPOB warning people to stay at home for 5days, before and after the election.

“We appeal to President Buhari to realize the need to respond to the agitators rather than ignore them. As a father of the nation, which Southeast is part of, we want to humbly request he speaks to them so we can have a peaceful election.

“These ones don’t need to be ignored. It’s their right to be agitated, but it’s your right to calm them down. That’s what leadership is all about.

“We also want to make a passionate appeal to former President Abdulsalami Abubakar. You intend coming to the state to sign a peace accord with the contestants. But before then, there’s serious need for you to reach out to Mr. President and solicit his cooperation in addressing the IPOB threats.

“He needs to send a word of encouragement and hope to them so they can rescind their threats. Otherwise, it would have a negative effect on the outcome of the poll. If that’s is not done, we’ll be compelled to believe that there’s a hidden plan to impose a governor on the people against their will.

“The same way government are negotiating with bandits, let them send a message to the IPOB known to be armless. We also appeal to Rev. Fr. Kukah, Secretary to National Peace Committee, to reach out to Mr. President, NSA and security chiefs and let them pacify these boys.

“Anambra is not a war zone and we don’t want to believe the security agencies are deployed to come and shoot, that will be absurd and barbaric. They’re role should be safeguarding the process and remaining impartial.”

According to Iyere, he reached out to major political parties in the race on the need for them to lend their voice in the appeal, but regretted that only the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) honored the invitation

He added, “I called the APC candidate, Andy Uba, he didn’t pick, I called his Aide and told him the need for their presence in the meeting, but they bluntly declined, saying the meeting was unimportant.

“I spoke with Soludo and he arrogantly told me that APGA is the only winning party running campaign in the state. I warned him that the people he’s going to seek their votes are the same people we want him to speak to. His DG who promised to come, never showed up.

“Those of ZLP and YPP also didn’t turn up. But good enough, we have the PDP and ADC here. I’m not a foolish person. What this establishes is that it’s only these two parties love their people. I’m not a politician nor campaigning for anyone.

“I make bold to say this without any apology or fear that only these parties can advance the course of Anambra people. IPOB, I’m sure with these two parties, you have hope that when a government is formed in their favor, will ensure your sentiments and concerns are addressed.

“I want to appeal to IPOB and its leadership, Anambra is your state, you may have haters, but don’t create room for those who don’t have your interest at heart to destroy your state and unleash mayhem.

“Five days of not doing business will affect many families, including some of you that issued the statement. Think about it and rescind on the decision. I came from Edo state, they wanted to hijack the process, but we resisted it. Today, the governor we have is the one we voted for.

“I want to warn, whoever believes results can be rigged is wasting his time. The civil society is there. I’m also calling on the European Union, US and UK government, if you love us, and want us to grow, please take serious whatever we say to you.”

The ADC National chairman, Chief Raphs-Okey Nwosu and the running mate of the PDP candidate, Chief Mrs. Azuka Enemo who spoke on behalf of their parties, called for dialogue between the federal government and the pro-Biafran group for a peaceful election.

On his part, former youth leader, Ohaneze Idigbo Tony-Uche Ezekwelu, called for the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as a panacea for peaceful poll in Anambra.

While the Zonal Vice- President of NUJ, Comrade Emmanuel Ifesinachi called on security agencies to ensure eligible voters are not intimidated while exercising their civic responsibilities on election day even as he called on media practicioners to discharge their duties without fear or favour.

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