The Anambra election is just a few days away as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Buhari Administration are at daggers drawn as the group seeks the unconditional release of their leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is undergoing trials.
The IPOB, to force the hands of the Federal Government, has subjected the South-east region to a sit-at-home every Monday in solidarity for their leader. The sit-at-home began on August 9 but following the outcry of the people, the order to make every Monday a ghost-Monday was called off by the group. However, the sit-at-home was continued and enforced by agents suspected to be members of the group.
As Kanu is in the DSS custody, the Igbo people of the South-east region are made to suffer with him even when the teaming daily income earners are not considered for palliatives for the loss of livelihood on the sit-at-home days.
Every Monday has automatically become a sit at home day even when people are grumbling, they comply out of fear. That has prompted the Anambra state government to shift schools’ academic activities to Saturdays.
In 2017, after Kanu got released with the help of some Igbo political leaders; he went ahead to declare ‘boycott of election’ in Anambra state unless the Federal Government grants him a date for a referendum – Kanu demands for a date for referendum for the restoration of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
“If the Federal Government does not agree with us on a date for referendum, there will be no elections in the southeast, we are starting with Anambra come November this year. There will be no governorship election in Anambra State,” Kanu had said.
The boycott of the election became an issue that pitched Kanu against many people and the leaders of Igbo and within the period, the group was proscribed.
This year’s election is also on the chopping board of the IPOB. They claimed they did not declare ‘no election’ in Anambra state but they have declared a five-day sit-at-home which will affect the turn out and the outcome of the election.
Anambra election which is scheduled to hold on November 6 is being used as a pawn in the loggerheads between the IPOB, Kanu and the Federal Government as the group has declared sit-at-home from November 5-10 if Kanu is not released unconditionally.
The proponents of the sit-at-home try to make people believe that elections in the region have not yielded any good governance and that the former Biafran territory should no longer have anything in common with the Nigerian government, therefore the elections should no longer be held in the ‘Biafra land’.
During the 2019 presidential election, Kanu ordered the boycott of the election in the South-east region but days before the election, he called it off. He said, “I received confirmation from our team that all of our pre-conditions played before those kicking off to call off the elections have been met. And in view of that, I hereby lift the boycott of elections… We said it from the beginning, nobody should expect us to participate in any form of elections unless our demands are met. And I am glad to tell you that they have acceded to our demands and it will be fully implemented.”
If Kanu said the demands they set were met which led him to call off the boycott of election in the region, why then will IPOB return to the same tactic using Anambra state as bait?
IPOB has claimed that it is fighting for the freedom of Igbo people from the ‘Fulani-northern controlled Nigeria’ but the interference in Anambra state election could directly hand the state over to a ‘Fulani-northern controlled’ puppet by disenfranchising the state, by opening doors to outright rigging or imposition of state of emergency or an appointment of sole administrator, who may not come from the state, should the state not be able to choose Gov. Obiano’s successor within the constitutional required time frame.
What would IPOB do by then? Are they looking for windows that will continue to fuel the agitation should a sole administrator be appointed?
Anambra state is a strategic state in Igbo land. The jostling to control it by other interests is not also hidden. But the order by the IPOB will not only play into the hands of the enemies of Igbo people and Anambra state, they will also deprive the Igbo people of their pride. As Ohanaeze Ndigbo said, “any harm to the state will create untold disastrous chain reactions and catastrophe for the Igbo.”
This election is consequential. Anambra is the state of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who is credited largely for Nigeria’s independence and Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu who declared the state of Biafra that led to war even as the Biafran war was still ongoing years after in the federal policies and politics to systemically marginalise the Igbo people. Should Anambra be taken over by other interests, it surely means the South-east and Igbo land has finally been beaten.
It is also consequential in terms of developments. Depending on the outcome of the election, it is either the future of the state is secure or pillaged. In any circumstance, IPOB should not be the conduit for which Igbo land surrendered and trampled.