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IPOB urged to reverse election-boycott stance

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AS preparations for Nigeria presidential and National Assembly elections take the final lap, members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), have been called-on to suspend their election-boycott threat and come out en-mass on Saturday to elect the candidates of their choice.

The call came following renewed threat by the group to enforce their members to stay at home and shun the elections to be conducted by Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) nation-wide, February 16, 2018.

Speaking to National Light reporter after a protest march of the group along Okpanam Road in Asaba, Delta State, on Monday, a civil society leader, Ogbueshi Fred Oghene, described the protest as insensitive and short of the collective will of the Igbo.

“The clamour of these youths for ndigbo to sit at home and boycott the Nigerian presidential election on Saturday is not only irrational but bizarre given the urgent need for ndigbo and indeed the entire Nigerians to express their feelings about the current state of the nation through the poll. The best that could happen for now is for ndigbo to pick-up their voter cards and vote out the government they detest in the current circumstance.”

He further advised that ndigbo cannot afford to miss this opportunity the exercise of their franchise has presented to make a bold step towards achieving their demand in preference to a referendum that is not certain when and how it will come. He charged ndigbo to wake up and do the needful by casting their votes at the poll on Saturday.

It will be recalled that the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo had on Monday, in Enugu, through her youth wing, issued a strong statement urging ndigbo to disregard any insinuation from any quarters, asking for the boycott of the elections as such will not be in the interest of ndigbo.

According to Ohaneze National Youth Leader, Arthur Obiora, IPoB’s exclusion of itself from Nigerian election on February 16 and fixing of a parallel referendum activity on the same date will amount to inviting clashes with the Nigerian security operatives, a situation that may lead to unwarranted casualties.

“While we will not subscribe to any form of carnage by the military in our land in the name of suppressing unarmed pro-Biafra agitators, our considered opinion is that IPoB members’ utterances and open threats are giving the military justifiable reason to flood Igbo land with soldiers.”

He added that referendum is not the solution to problems facing Igbo race as marginalised people in Nigeria while warning against any order compelling ndigbo to stay away from participating in the Nigerian general election. “We would not want a repeat of the visionless order for the boycott of the 2006 national headcount by the then leader of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, which ndigbo would ever live to regret.”

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