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Biafra Exit: In Defence of Election Boycott – By Onyiorah Paschal Chiduluemije

Ever since Nnandi Kanu, the supreme leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, reportedly declared that Ndi Igbo would no longer participate in elections organized by the government of Nigeria unless and/or until the later announces or gives in principle a date for a referendum that will enable the Igbo to decides once and for all whether they still want to remain part of the entity called Nigeria, there has arisen in predictable consequence a litany of criticisms and polemics from certain quarters and people who erroneously believe that this timely declaration is an invitation to anarchy in the polity as well as an open threat to the so-called unity of Nigeria.

Apparently in the shadow thinking of these critics, merely asking for a date for a referendum that will avail the Igbo the opportunity to decide their fate in Nigeria as a condition precedent for them to willingly continue to participate in the electoral and other activities in Nigeria, has, all of sudden, become such a very serious “crime” which in the estimation of these critics qualifies Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra not just as “rebels” or “threats” to national security, but also as potential “felons” perceive to be planning to take up arms (with bare hands) against the Nigerian state. Curiously, it is only in Nigeria-the zoo republic – that a no -referendum-no-election pronouncement made by a non-violent, unarmed and self determination seeking indigenous group can be construed as a threat to peace and security of the state and thus portrayed as consisting in the meaning of lawlessness-no thanks to the low mentality of the Arewa Youths Assemble whose quote-system based type of education prevalent in their region can well be implicated as a factor responsible for this eccentric line of thought.

However, no less unfortunate of all is the fact that among the critics of Nnamdi Kanu and  the IPOB’s election boycott resolve is chief John Nnia Nwodo, the President General of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, who rather than commending the IPOB leadership and Nnadi Kanu for strategically reaching such a providential decision to henceforth boycott elections to be held within the Biafran enclave (a course of action globally recognized as a convectional approach encapsulated in the broad concept of civil disobedience), chose to resort to throwing a tantrum, like a child, by unnecessarily accusing Mr. Kanu and the IBOP of overheating the polity to the point of “provoking” the angst and dredging up deep-seated animosity in the hearts of the Hausa-Fulani folks and thereby igniting the fire of hate speeches  emanating from their poorly educated and self-styled coalition of Arewa Consultative Youth Forum, Arewa Youth Assembly, among sundry other Arewa and Almajiri Youth Groups, known and unknown, in northern Nigeria.

          But be that as it may, one fact remains crystal clear about whatever accusation anybody levels against the IPOB under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu. And the fact is that, at least for now, the Indigenous People of Biafra has not gone violent either in words or in actions and so critics of its peaceful activities are not just unnecessarily obsessed but also apparently wallowing in ignorance. Therefore, With due respect, Chief John Nnia Nwodo and his fellow critics of no-referendum-no-election declaration have unwittingly shown themselves so far as being unable to clarify how on earth a non-violent indigenous group’s resolve to discourage it’s members, compatriots and followers alike from exercising their franchise (by refusing to vote) will constitute an outright or potential threat to peace and security of the State.

Besides, beyond the fake news frequently being dished out and propagated by certain section of the Nigeria media about the IPOB’s activities and, in particular, its election boycott resolve, the truth of the matter is that neither Nnamdi Kanu nor the leadership of the IPOB has evidently signaled or demonstrated the intent to employ coercion as an instrument to be deployed in securing full Igbo support and compliance with its election boycotts agenda. Rather, the group has successfully proved through consistent large turnout of people (members and supporters alike) for the leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wherever he goes, that it controls more than eighty percent of the population of Igbo youths in Biafra land. And that being the case, it then boggles one’s mind the sort of mentality or thinking faculties the leadership and followership in Nigeria are endowed with vis-à-vis their increasing obsession, morbid thought and complaints about the IPOB‘s election boycott resolve.

As it were, it is pertinent at this juncture to inform these critics (whoever or whatever they think they are) and the carnivores, yes the carnivores, in Northern Nigeria who keep lampooning, harassing and issuing threat, quite notice and what have you to Ndi Igbo over the legitimate clamor and struggle for Biafra, that none of their antics, mischief or mischief-making can stop the Biafra cause whose time of realization has ultimately come.

Incidentally, the IPOB’s resolve to massively mobilize the people for full compliance with its declaration to kick start the boycott of elections with the November 8, 2017 gubernatorial election in Anambra state is, to say the least, a right decision in the right direction. As a matter of public knowledge, it is a trite fact that in democracy sovereignty resides with the people, in much the same way the people are known to be the primary source of legitimacy. Hence it is to seen in no distant time, how on earth Muhammadu Buhari-led government, through its Independent National Electoral Commission, intend to subvert and/or undermine these core values of democracy by barbing the vast majority of the citizens of Anambra sate and Igbo land at large in their absence.

But however feasible this scenario might be, it is high time the Nigerian state led by Muhammadu Buhari woke up from its slumber to give a date in principle for a referendum as being peacefully demanded now by the Indigenous People of Biafra and other peace-loving groups. A stitch in time saves nine. 


Indeed, it is comical that the so-called Ala Igbo Development Foundation, a group of Igbo Professionals across board, reportedly invited and met with Mr. Nnamdi Kanu for a parley geared towards “compelling” him, the leadership and membership of the IPOB to jettison the idea of boycotting the forthcoming Anambra State governorship Poll and other future elections in Igbo land.

Anyway, the IPOB family must not forget that Prof. Uzodinma Nwala led group is still an off-shoot of the same rogue Ohaneze Ndi Igbo whose despicable activities have left Ndi Igbo where they are today. Besides, for the record, Prof. Nwala himself remains an erstwhile Peoples Democratic Party man-if he is not still an active member.

Moreover, the no-referendum-no-election resolve of the IPOB is in fact the first major litmus test of its seriousness in pursuing the cause it believes in. Therefore, abandoning the cause now, at a time all eyes are on it to prove its mettle and commitment to the masses – just to please a handful of people who have been benefiting from our common wealth, will be undoubtedly counter-productive.       

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