IPOB AND CAMPAIGN FOR ELECTION BOYCOTT IN NIGERIA.
Chinwe Ugele, Umuahia
“He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.” This is a popular Igbo adage which proves that one who throws in towel during a battle due to fatigue or loss of strategy, has a better chance of defeating his opponents on their next encounter.
It is about three months to the nation’s general elections and expectedly serious business of politicking has already commenced in political parties and within the political class, and of course among the citizens who have made the 2019 elections their focal points.
Every geo-political group in the country today appears to have a position they have taken as a guide to their electorate going into the election year.
But that may not be said of the South East zone, which seems quite mute on their stand. This has even given more voice to the call by the IPOB for its members to boycott the elections.
The apex socio-cultural body of the zone, Ohaneze Ndigbo does not think it is necessary to conduct voter awareness campaign in the zone to help douse the hype of boycott.
It should be a major concern to the south East stakeholders, the governors, senators, house of Representatives members, house of Assembly members traditional rulers, religious leaders, and all that those who should constitute the majority of their voting population may not be participating in the exercise.
The vice presidential candidate of one of the contending parties in the elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has a lot of work to do to engage his people from his home state Anambra and the entire zone to convince those threatening boycott to calm down and vote.
The call for boycott of 2019 elections by IPOB is not only retrogressive, but with great, monumental negative impact on the people in the zone.
Agitation for self-determination is not wrong but can be actualized through better means other than this. That is to say that until the federal government agrees to the call for a referendum, those seeking self-actualization remain citizens of that country they wish to secede from.
The entities that make up Biafra still remain in Nigeria even though clamouring for freedom, hence being a voice in the decisions to choose people in authority, becomes their right. Failure to vote or even aspire to be voted for can be a huge loss to those concerned.
The south East zone had an opportunity of correcting the population figures ascribed to it in the times past by the National Population Commission in 2006, during its population census, but stayed delusional due to a similar campaign by the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for people to avoid head count.
Their reason was that agreeing to be captured in the census meant accepting to remain in Nigeria which will jeopardise the chances of actualizing Biafra.
For that, a good number of the people shied away from the exercise and this singular act is the reason all the states in the south East put together remain the least in terms of population, and it is also why the federal allocations are among the least in the nation.
If only stakeholders rose up to the occasion at that time, it would have been a different ball game, so until another census is done, the zone will own what they were ascribed in 2006.
There are over a hundred people seeking elective positions from every state in the zone, they have the onerous task of changing the orientation of some people who follow orders without knowing why on the need to vote in 2019, to elect those they can call leaders whilst still in Nigeria.
Assuming people refuse to vote to elect leaders, and Biafra is not actualized by 2019, it means the IPOB and the zone will be plunged into yet another political quagmire in a nation they co own.
Will the zone allow a repeat of 2006 population census in 2019?
What the stakeholders do from now till February next year will surely determine where the Igbos will be after the elections.
The truth is that the IPOB can be heard loudly and clearly through their votes since confrontations have not fetched them any good.
Wise up, be heard through your votes and take what’s yours!
“A stitch in time saves nine”