UNCONDITIONAL release of Nnamdi Kanu, before November 4, is the latest demand by the proscribed separatist Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, from President Buhari’s government. Failure to heed its demand, IPOB said, Anambra State governorship election, scheduled for November 06, will not hold.
IPOB’s statement, on Saturday, by Emma Powerful, Media and Publicity Secretary, said it will issue one-week sit-at-home order, to commence November 5, if its demand is not met. The total one-week lock-down, will cripple political, economic and social lives of the people of the region comprising – Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States.
Shutting down the region for one week, includes the demand which IPOB described as “we have been enslaved and caged enough by the Fulani-controlled Federal Government of Nigeria and its allies”. The group, also, said shutting down will not be to much of “high price to pay”.
COALITION of Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, in the south-east, says no to IPOB’s planned one-week sit-at-home. If election did not hold in Anambra State, as scheduled for November 6, as a result of the one-week sit-at-home, the CSOs said, it would translate to total breakdown of law and order.
The CSOs on Sunday, in Enugu, at a press conference, warned IPOB, that their action is an invitation to truncate Anambra State governorship election, as well as, inviting the State of emergency. Emeka Umeagbalasi, leader of coalition, stated: “If we fail in the Anambra election, it is going to be a nomadic rainforest state”.
“If election does not hold on November 6, 2021, it means you [IPOB] have created a state of anarchy and a total breakdown of law and order in Anambra State. What this means is that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot keep quiet and allow a part of the country to degenerate to anarchy”, Umeagbalasi added.
Igbos for Progressive Nigeria, IPAN, as socio-political group, asked IPOB, at a separate press conference, in Awka, Anambra State, on Sunday, to rescind its planned one-week sit-at-home. IPAN described the action as “senseless”.
Lawrence Onuzulike, IPAN president, wondered how a group that claimed to be marginalized would, on its own volition, deny the people, IPOB claimed to be representing, the right to election. He said: “Part of IPAN’s strategy is to reawaken the Igbo to take wise and strategic political decisions that will entrench the Igbo race firmly in the Nigerian political fabric.
“The forthcoming Anambra governorship election slated for November 6, 2021 provides an auspicious opportunity for the Igbo to make a bold statement. If Ndigbo desire to get more out of Nigeria and produce a president of Igbo extraction, we must show that we believe in the unity of this country and can be trusted with power to transform this nation and heal the land”, Onuzulike stated.
ON NNAMDI KANU’s trial, Onuzulike said: “Our major concern in IPAN is for the Federal Government to accord Kanu the desired dignity as he is being tried. I was in Abuja during the last court session; I was very close to Nnamdi that day that if I had wanted to take pictures with him, I would have done so”.
“I came in from abroad partly because of that case. From what I saw, the Federal Government is not handling him badly. He looked healthy and refreshed than even when he was free. The security personnel at the court allowed him to fraternize and take pictures with his family members and friends.
“IPAN strives very hard to bring Ndigbo back to great reckoning in the Nigerian political space by building political, cultural and intellectual bridges and alliances with key stakeholders across different geopolitical zones. Part of IPAN’s strategy is to reawaken the Igbo to take wise and strategic political decisions that will entrench the Igbo race firmly in the Nigerian political fabric”, he stated.
CAMPAIGNS by political parties contesting the governorship election, in Anambra State, continued uninterrupted, despite IPOB’s threat. Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has indicated that there is no going back from holding the election, provided adequate security arrangement is made to protect INEC’s personnel – permanent and adhoc; and materials for the election.
INEC, recently, issued guidelines for the election. Political parties in Anambra State governorship race are working in line with INEC’s guidelines. The past one week, security situation in Anambra State, seemed improved. Civil society and elections monitoring groups, expressed optimism that the election will hold and conclusive. They are engaging electorates to come out and vote on November 6.
The main political parties for the governorship election – All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; All Progressives Congress, APC; and the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, are upbeat, and unperturbed with IPOB’s threat. They are progressing with electioneering campaigns and leaving nothing to chance in ensuring victory.
ADEQUATE SECURITY has been assured by President Buhari. Last Thursday, in Abuja, Babagana Monguno, National Security Adviser, told journalist, after national security council meeting, that the president ordered massive deployment of security agents, to ensure peaceful election in Anambra State, on November 6.
Monguno said: “The president has made it very clear that the armed forces, security agencies and law enforcement agencies must make sure that the elections take place if it means overwhelming the entire environment with the presence of security agencies”.
Trigger-happy mercenaries, had unleashed wave of violent crime in Anambra State, leading to the destruction of public and private properties, arson and killing prominent citizens. Nigeria’s security agencies, fingered IPOB and the Eastern Security Network, ESN, as responsible for mayhem, including criminal activities in other States of the region. IPOB and ESN, denied involvement.
Monguno, said the national security council, observed that non-state actors, in Anambra State, were moving against the smooth conduct of election in Anambra State, by unleashing violence. “Today’s meeting of the National Security Council, focused its attention on several issues, primarily the elections in Anambra State, which will be held on the 6th of November 6”.
“The president has directed that under no circumstances will anything be allowed to stop the elections from taking place successfully. The people have a right to vote, they have a right to select their leader, and no group or individual will be allowed to stimulate anarchy and chaos leading to murderous activities”, he added.
NIGERIA’S Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, Thursday, October 14, announced the deployment of 34,587 Police personnel to Anambra State to ensure peaceful election. The deployment consists of conventional Polices, Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Unit, Special Forces, Explosive Ordnance Unit, Force Intelligence Bureau, INTERPOL, Special Protection Unit and medical team.
Helicopters for aerial surveillance will also be deployed, as well as, detachments of Marine Police operatives. Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had earlier, changed Anambra State Commissioner of Police, in the heat of deadly wave of attacks by unknown gun-men.
ABUBAKAR MALAMI, Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federal, on Wednesday, October 6, after the Federal Executive Council, meeting presided by President Buhari, told journalists that government may consider imposing state of emergency in Anambra State, due to the worsening security situation in the State.
“When our national security is attacked, and the sanctity of our constitutionally guaranteed democracy is threatened, no possibility is ruled out. As a government, we have a responsibility to ensure the sustenance of our democratic order. As a government, we have a responsibility to provide security to life and properties.
“And you cannot out rule possibilities inclusive of the possibility of declaration or state of emergency where it is established, in essence, that there is a failure on the part of the state government to ensure the sanctity of security of lives, properties and democratic order”, Malami stated.
Malami’s prescription of state of emergency in Anambra State, met backlash. It attracted wide condemnation. Willie Obiano, Governor of Anambra State, rushed to Abuja, to brief President Buhari on the security situation in the State. He told journalists, after the meeting that the president, that Buhari was not disposed to the state of emergency on State.
GLOOMY as the situation IPOB is plunging the eastern region seemed, analysts see the passive role of south-east governors, political leaders and traditional rulers, about the violence engulfing the region, as not being in the best interest of the growth of democracy in the region. They are watching while democracy is on trial in the region.
It is not known, precisely, the position the governors, political leaders and traditional rulers in the region – Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States, are conversing to end IPOB’s gradual incursion, and the threat to democracy in the region.
Analysts say the questions have always been – Does Ndigbo desire to aspire to greater political height in the country’s political space? As well as, aspire to produce a president of Igbo extraction in Nigeria? Things must not “fall apart” in the region. The “center” should hold.