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
Why Kwankwaso can’t be running mate to Obi – NNPP chieftain Jibrin
Rabiu Kwankwaso, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), will not be a running mate to Peter Obi, flag bearer of the Labour Party, a strong member of the NNPP, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has said.
The former member of the House of Representatives who spoke on Sunday in an interview on Channels Television, said Kwankwaso would be bringing far more to the table than Obi.
The NNPP and LP are currently discussing a possible coalition for the 2023 presidential election in a bid to defeat the two major political parties.
One talking point that has dominated the discussion is the choice of presidential candidate and running mate between Kwankwaso and Obi.
Kwankwaso’s candidacy is currently gaining momentum in the northern part of the country, while Obi is gaining popularity among the youths.
Speaking during the interview, Jibrin said the former Kano governor has an “edge” over other presidential candidates in the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Asked about the alliance talks with Labour Party, he said Kwankwaso is more experienced than Obi and he will bring 70 per cent of the votes if they team up.
“It is public knowledge that we are in talks with Peter Obi. Of which, we believe that it would be able to take care of a lot of things. One, to address the issue of marginalisation of the South-East,” he said.
“Secondly, bringing someone with private sector background, of course, a lot of followership that he has among the youths but we are taking that cautiously because that has not been tested in terms of electoral value. From the surface, you are going to agree that he has massive youth followership.
“Very clearly, Kwankwaso will not be a running mate to Peter Obi. By every standard, Kwankwaso should be the presidential candidate. Kwankwaso has more political exposure and experience. He has a big profile when it comes to that. He has more experience politically on how to win elections.
“When you look at it in terms of equity contribution, in terms of votes, it will be about a ratio of 70 per cent to 30 per cent. We are looking at bringing in 70 per cent of the contribution.
“Even if it is business, Peter Obi is experienced in business, he knows that whoever is bringing the larger chunk of equity is expected to stay on board.”
Jibrin added that Kwankwaso is the “single most popular politician today in the northern part of the country”.
Form coalition or lose to Tinubu — Deji Adeyanju advises Atiku, Peter Obi, others
Human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju has reiterated that the national leader and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu will defeat other contestants at the polls next year except they form a coalition.
Adeyanju disclosed this on Twitter on Sunday while reacting to a journalist, Eniola Akinkuotu’s tweet.
This was not the first time Adeyanju will sound the alarm for the presidential flag bearers of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party, LP, Peter Obi, New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso and African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore to withdraw from the race but choose one that others will support.
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Akinkuotu had tweeted earlier that, “It’s too late for the opposition to come together. The deadline for mergers has passed. INEC has already begun printing ballot papers.”
But, Adeyanju who did not mention Tinubu said other unless other aforementioned presidential contestants agree and swallow their pride to work in unison, APC candidate will humble them at the 2023 presidential election.
Adeyanju tweeted, “Eniola my great brother, they can all meet and agree they will support either Obi, Kwankwaso, Atiku or Sowore. Everybody must not be on the ballot but if they go into the race with their ego, Convener of Agbado will humble them with Bullion Vans.”
I’ll Give You A Running Mate You’ll Enjoy Working With, Gbaja Tells Tinubu
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has promised Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) a running mate he can work with.
Gbajabiamila made the promise while responding to the remarks of Tinubu at an event to celebrate the speaker’s 60th birthday.
“You (Tinubu) said in your address that many years ago you consulted with younger brother on the issue of WAEC and that consultation bore fruits. I give you my own parting shot. It is that time again to consult with your younger brother. I will give you a running mate that you will enjoy working with. But this time the consultation I promise you will not be for free,” he said.
Earlier at the event which took place in Abuja on Sunday, Tinubu had paid glowing tribute to Gbajabiamila, describing him as a worthy individual.
Tinubu said he discovered Gbajabiamila as a potential politician even though the Speaker was reluctant at first.
“As a Minority Leader, he consults wide and he’s always there to see the thinking of opposition that we must bring a revolution to the House to be able to beat the PDP. And then, he will brainstorm for any length of time about political strategy.
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“When he was challenged for the position of the speaker, I think after our merger he worked for me tirelessly; Femi is a workaholic. The problem of failure stared him at the face. He lost the election to become the Speaker.
“I was close to tears. Stamping my foot to the ground, I said we will win again. Femi keep up. Pick yourself up. I am very proud of you that you did, you didn’t give up. You did the opposition and the support job. You demonstrated what we learnt from textbooks and other authors.
“Femi with your determination, grit, you are a contributor to our democratic growth, thank you. You have character. You are a great mentor and you are doing a good job charting a path to success. You’ve done a good job and I say thank you, thank you.
“What you did during my primary is a story for another day. I’ve spent more time, too many times and people might be bored, they might be envious too, they might be jealous. I won landslide, I thank you.
“I could see his deputy (Wase) sitting down there too, you are a very good symbols of unity, dependability, and honesty, thank you. Thank you for both of you. You’ve not rocked the boat. I will need to learn from both of you, how you made the pair work because I’m still searching for my running mate,” Tinubu had said.
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