From Magnus Eze, Enugu and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri Pro-Biafra agitators have declared that nobody can disrupt next year’s general elections in the South East.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Igbo National Council (INC), in their separate reactions to threat by the controversial member of IPOB, Simon Ekpa, that his group would not allow election in the region, advised him to jettison the idea.
Ekpa, in a viral video, which he purportedly made on October 4, claimed that the disruption of the poll by his group would pave the way for the actualisation of a Biafra nation. He declared that a referendum would be the only option to stop their threat.
“Some of you might be asking how next year’s election will affect Biafra restoration, as Nigeria is planning to have their election, so is Biafra preparing to exit Nigeria, and in exiting Nigeria, it is planning to stop the election in Biafra territory.
“We’re going to make sure nobody votes in Biafra land. We are taking our own destiny into our hands. After we have successfully stopped the election in Biafra land, the door would be open. It’s either we exit Nigeria in peace, or Biafra will engage the Nigeria State in guerrilla warfare,” Ekpa bragged.
But in a swift reaction to Ekpa’s comments, IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful said the former lacked the authority to speak for the group, and urged that his utterances be ignored.
Though Powerful emphasised that IPOB would remain neutral about Nigeria’s 2023 general election, he added that Ekpa and his group couldn’t disrupt the election.
He said: “Nobody is authorised to speak for Biafra except the Office of the Media and Publicity Secretary and Radio Biafra, and anybody claiming to be speaking for IPOB is fake and deluded, and our people should ignore such statements.
“IPOB is intact and knows what they are doing and cannot disrupt the selection process called election in Nigeria. IPOB is neutral in this task to remove Buhari and Fulani cabals from office.”
Though the leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, said the Coalition of Pro-Biafra organisations were still consulting and liaising with some Igbo socio-political groups on the forthcoming polls, he was emphatic the election disruption had never been on their cards.
Madu noted that the nonchalant and insensitive attitude of the majority of the current crop of elected political leaders in the South East towards the political and economic plight of Ndigbo, had made them continue to lose faith in the Nigeria State.
Warning that no single group can monopolise the position of the people of the region in respect of the 2023 polls, Madu stated that “MASSOB, IPOB and other pro-Biafra organizations have never stopped an election of Nigeria state in occupied Biafra land. What we had considered doing in the previous elections was only to boycott their elections.”
He added: “The 2023 general election is growing more interesting, and hopeful because the young and oppressed citizens of the Fulani dominated Federal Government of Nigeria have risen to change the political narratives that always denied them the future they hoped for.”
However, MASSOB said that its current preoccupation was how to collaborate with other groups to secure the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, from detention, because “we cannot be talking about the 2023 election without the release of our brother, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”
Reacting, President of INC, Chilo Godsent, described Ekpa as a political contractor being used to destabilise the zone, and urged the international security agencies to immediately arrest him for threatening the peace of the country.
“We call on the good people of the South East region to ignore this treacherous act of Simon Ekpa and mobilise for the 2023 election,” Godsent said.
Like INC, a prominent Igbo leader, who wished not to be named, insisted that enemies of Ndigbo might have procured Ekpa to continue to cause a crisis in the zone. He also appealed to the Igbo in Diaspora to use their contacts and influence to rein him in with Interpol for him “to cool off with Adeyinka Grandson who recently threatened the Igbo.
“In fact, it was alleged that Ekpa, whose group had been responsible for recent attacks in the zone, has reached out to his collaborators, and they were now regrouping to execute the evil plot of their pay masters.”
Another frontline Igbo group, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), said it was not opposed to the 2023 elections, stressing that it supports all forms of legitimate electoral struggles that will culminate in the enthronement of a genuine progressive political leadership in Nigeria.
“Any group or individual that advocates a boycott of next year’s election is embarking on the road to anarchy, and ADF will distance itself from such group or individual, ADFActing National Secretary, Abia Onyike, stated.