Close to two months after the Indigenous People of Biafra announced that it has suspended the weekly sit-at-home exercise for every Monday, the entire South East zone has continued to observe the exercise, leading to what the group describes as ghost Monday on a weekly basis.
IPOB in a message through its spokesperson, Mr. Emma Powerful had said that it decided to suspend the exercise because of the plea of the people, who were complaining of the dwindling fortunes of the South East economically, because of the exercise.
The group said the suspension of the exercise would also help senior secondary students of the zone to sit for the West African School Certificate Exams (WASCE), and other artisans who survive through daily work would also be able to meet up with their activities. It said the only days the exercise would hold would be days that its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu would be taken to court.
But curiously, despite the suspension, states in the South East zone, including Anambra have continued to observe the exercise. Curiously too, people, suspected to be members of the group have always gone out to enforce compliance to the exercise every Monday to the extent of killing, maiming and destroying property, even as IPOB has dissociated itself from it.
Many believe that the compliance this time is rather out of fear than of one’s volition, because of the violence that has recently been registered in the area.
As the Anambra governorship election draws near, with the seriousness with which orders from the group are taken, analysts believe that if the group decides to go the way it went in the 2017 governorship election, by announcing a – no referendum, no election – stance, it may ultimately achieve its aim.
In the last two weeks, despite the usual sit-at-home on Mondays, the group had announced that on Thursday of the previous week, and the Tuesday of this week would also be sit-at-home days. Despite announcements by various state governments in the South East to dissuade people from observing the event, it was observed that the compliance was high, thereby scuttling the economic activities in the zone.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State had before the exercise held a meeting with heads of banks in Anambra State and markets, urging them to ensure they open for business. Obiano said there would be sanction for banks and markets that fail to conduct activities on sit-at-home days. The governor also went out to ensure compliance, and DAILY POST observed that in some banks where the governor visited, they opened for business and after the visit, they quickly shut their gates against customers, for fear of attack.
While the governor was last Monday trying to enforce compliance with his order for businesses to open at Eke Awka and banks around the Ukwu Oji area, banks in other parts of Awka and other parts if the state were securely locked up, to avoid attacks.
On Tuesday, just a day after the governor went round to ensure compliance; banks and markets and other businesses in the state securely locked their gates, in observance of a sit-at-home order by IPOB, to commemorate the invasion of Kanu’s home on 14th September, 2017 by the military.
The near breakdown of security in the zone now seems to empower the group to incessantly declare sit-at-home exercises at will. A lawyer, Mr Ekene Obi who spoke to DAILY POST about the incessant declaration of Sit-at-home exercises and the near total compliance it registers each time said, “This is happening because people are afraid. How can government give order for the people to come out and do their business, and people will refuse to obey, instead they will obey a group that has already rescinded its own decision on sit-at+home?
“It is because there is no longer trust on the part of the government. They are telling people to come out, but they cannot secure the people. This week Monday and Tuesday, do you know the number of casualties that were registered? What has the government done to avenge the lives of those who were killed, or replace the property of those whose buses and motorcycles were burnt, since they were obeying government directive by coming out.
“Let me tell you, these days, even churches announce it to their members and they tell them to stay at home if there is any announcement for a sit- at-home, because they believe that government cannot protect. If for any reason a rumour flies around that some people, not even IPOB declare a sit-at-home on the day of the Anambra governorship election, I tell you, people will obey, because the security situation now is not the same as what we had in 2017, when people ignored the – no referendum, no election – mantra to go and vote.”
Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also disclosed that their job for the Anambra governorship election is being affected by the number of days there have been sit-at-home exercises. The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Anambra, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji stated this in a press interview, during a workshop by the EMSC Amber Zone Implementers, organized by the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES).
Orji said the commission has launched a dashboard for the Anambra governorship election, billed to hold on November 6, and that the dashboard already has all activities of the commission for the election. “The dashboard will remind us ahead of time of the things we have to do in the nearest future, what we should do that we have not done, and things like that.
“Already, we have factored in the incessant sit-at-home exercises into our schedule. The exercise has been eating up into our time, and putting pressure on our work, but we have been adjusting to ensure we meet up with our schedule. For now, I can say that all arrangements are going on well, and we hope that it will continue to be so,” Orji said.
Though there have not been any indication that the election may be disrupted, there is the belief that once the INEC gears its mind to conduct the election, the security agencies should be able to also provide marching power to ensure safety of the people for the election to hold.
Speaking in an earlier interview, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof Chukwuma Soludo had stated that there is no reason why the Anambra election should not hold. He said: “Elections have held in terrorists ravaged areas of the north, so why won’t it hold here. It is even made easier by the fact that the Anambra election is a one-state election, so all attention, especially of the security forces can be focused here.”
As the November 6 date for the election draws close, there is,however, no indication that the election would not hold, as parties and their candidates continue to strategize on how they can win the election.
The special adviser to the chairman of INEC, Mr Mohammed Kuna has, however, reinforced the assurance that everything about the Anambra governorship election is on course. “So far, there is nothing the commission has set out to achieve that it has not achieved, so, despite the incessant sit-at-home protest, we are hopeful that nothing would stop the election.”
Joe Chukindi, Daily Post Online
BREAKING: CAN opposes Christian-Christian, Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in 2023
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned political parties to bury the thought of Christian/Christian tickets or Muslim/Muslim presidential tickets in 2023.
The President, Samson Ayokunle spoke on Thursday when CAN leadership met with Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege at the National Assembly.
Ayokunle told politicians not to heat up the polity with utterances as campaigns commence.
Ayokunle advised them to always remember there is already tension across Nigeria due to insecurity
“We urge that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered. We don’t want Christian/Christian ticket nor Muslim/Muslim ticket”, he said.
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Ayokunle expressed disappointment with the economic downturn and its consequences on the people.
The CAN President called for quick actions and policies that will cushion the effect.
“Unemployment is at an unimaginable level. While we appreciate the efforts of the legislature in calling the attention of the executive, more robust and daring efforts are required
“Enabling environment should be created for investments and incentives or tax exceptions given to local manufacturers on some goods”, Ayokunle added.
Anambra election: Corps members threaten withdraw from poll over IPOB order
Some National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members in Anambra State have vowed to steer clear of the forthcoming governorship election over constant threats from the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
DAILY POST reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, often relies on corps members for the conduct of elections in all parts of the country. They are often used as Presiding Officers, PO and Assistant Presiding Officers, APO 1, 2 and 3 in most polling units during elections.
But sequel to the tension currently rocking Anambra State following moves by IPOB to halt the election, corps members serving in some local government areas of the state, told DAILY POST that they are not interested in taking part in the election currently being threatened.
DAILY POST recalls that IPOB had declared sit-at-home in order to halt the election, insisting that the Southeastern region does not need any election. It stressed that the Federal Government must call for a referendum which would determine the corporate existence of the country.
According to media reports, IPOB members are also angered by the continuous incarceration of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 2021 following his rearrest from an undisclosed country.
Simon Ekpa, one of the supporters of the fugitive and an opinion leader in the Biafra struggle had via his social media handles, warned INEC against conducting any election in Biafra land (Southeast).
In a post on his Twitter and Facebook handles on Wednesday, the Finnish warned Igbo citizens to avoid the election. He said “tell Egbunike, others to stay away from Anambra election as Biafrans already decided there will be no movement or election in Anambra State on the 6th of November, 2021.
“DIG Egbunike should be ready to go down in the history as the policeman used by the Fulanis to instigate crises should in case he tries to enforce election in Anambra State by killing any Biafran.”
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DAILY POST recalls that in a statement recently issued by the spokesman of the group, Emma Power, IPOB vowed to commence one-week sit-at-home a day to the election if Kanu remains in the DSS custody.
Speaking with DAILY POST, a corps member who identified herself as Ochanya, serving in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state, expressed fear of attack on the election day, saying the recent killings in the state birthed by the IPOB’s sit-at-home, shows the potency of their threats.
According to Ochanya, majority of corps members in the local government have vowed to shun the election despite the assurances by security agencies to ensure that the election is crisis-free.
She said, “I don’t want to die. My life is very important to my family. We have all witnessed the wrath of IPOB while they were trying to enforce the Monday sit-at-home. Many residents here have lost their lives because they violated the order.
“I pity those going for the election just because of the stipends. Even to stay in the state during the election is still a concern to me If I have my way, I will travel back to Abuja before November 24.”
Also, Mr Kenneth, popularly known as ‘Coper Ken’ told our correspondent that his parents had warned him against taking any function in the election, stressing that his life is more important than the benefits attached to the exercise.
“I know there is going to be money for those who will risk their lives to conduct the election but I’m not greedy. My life is more important than any money. IPOB mean business. My parents had even warned me to steer clear of the election so I’m out”.
Another corps member from Awka North Local Government Area of the state, who identified himself as Adebayo Fayemi said he is still deciding whether to participate in the election or not despite going through the training. According to Adebayo, the level of tension in the area two days to the election may determine his decision.
“I am very sure that the election will hold and nothing will happen, but sometimes, the fear exhibited by others, affects my courage too. Of course, no body wants to die. If by the end of November 4, the security situation is not encouraging, I will have no choice but to stay at home on the election day”, he said.
An official of the scheme, (a local government inspector) who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that corps members who volunteer to participate in the election, would be given adequate security.
According to him, NYSC will not impose the function on corps members who are not willing to participate.
DAILY POST recalls that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba had on October 14, ordered the deployment of a total of 34,587 police personnel to the state ahead of the election.
The IGP who made the development known at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, during the 2nd Strategic Police Managers Conference for Senior Police Officers from the rank of Commissioner of Police and above, also ordered the deployment of three Police Helicopters, technical capabilities of the Police Airwing, the Force Marine and the Force Animal Branch, and other operational assets to maintain peace during the election.
Aregbesola shuns Akande’s meeting with APC elders’ caucus
MINISTER of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, was noticeably absent at a meeting held at the Ila country home of the ex-Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, to discuss party unity.
The gathering was a meeting of the Osun APC Elders’ Caucus designed to unite party members.
It was gathered that when one of the conveners of the meeting raised the issue Aregbesola’s absence, one of the conveners of the meeting, reportedly explained that the ex-governor was duly invited.
Although the meeting was held behind closed doors, it was learnt that the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf, said many party members were aggrieved as a result of the 2018 Osun APC Governorship primary. He appealed to the elder statesman to assist in reconciliatory efforts before the next cycle of elections.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Akande, said the elders met regularly to discuss party issues, until the advent of COVID-19 last year.
He said, “the meeting had always existed, but because of COVID-19, the meeting had not been held for a very long time. It is the beginning of elders’ activities to move the party forward in Osun.
“We are doing all our best to resolve every crisis. I can assure you that there will be no crisis within our party before the election. We come from different constituencies in Osun and we are going back to let our people know we have started to be more active than before.”
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