By Dennis Agbo & Ugochukwu Alaribe
ENUGU – THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has stated that whether people boycott elections or not, winners must emerge in any scheduled election.
The electoral body said that whatever number of people that participated in an election, the conduct would obviously produce a winner, adding that no matter the agitation anybody or group may have, elections are crucial to governance since somebody must be a helmsman at any point in time.
INEC also noted that even if there would be a referendum in the country, INEC registers would be relied upon to determine legibility for participation in the referendum.
INEC spoke as two pro-Biafra groups; Eastern Elders Forum and Defenders of Truth, stated that only a referendum would resolve the prevailing political turmoil in Nigeria and urged the Federal Government to conduct one without further delay.
The groups further warned that the call for referendum by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign States of Biafra, MASSOB and other agitating groups in the country do not amount to declaration of war and urged the Federal Government to do the needful.
Boycott or not, winner must emerge — INEC
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Enugu State, Mr. Emeka Ononamadu made the statements in Enugu in a press briefing on the state of the on-going Continuous Voters Registration, CVR, in the state.
Ononamadu noted that it would be wiser if eligible voters are registered since greater participation of voters in elections help discourage electoral malpractice.
He however said that so far, there has not been any challenge of pro-Biafra groups against the exercise in the state.
He disclosed that there is a wide gap between census figures and the number of voters and urged people up to 18 years that have not obtained voters cards to do so in order to close the wide margin.
Ononamadu further disclosed that 68, 672 voters have so far registered in the the on-going CVR while 8 registration centres were approved in addition to 17 statutory centres in the state.
He said that the state has so far distributed 3, 978 Permanent Voters Card, PVC, while 4000 cards were either lost or defaced.
He noted that the second quarter of the CVR will immediately commence from July 31 2017, adding that “this is the first time we are practicing what the law says and the continuous registration will continue till close to election.”
The INEC chief said that display of voters registers have commenced at the registration centres and urged people to check if their names were either omitted or spelt wrongly.
Only referendum ‘ll resolve Nigeria’s problems
Briefing newsmen in Aba, chairmen of Eastern Elders Forum and Defenders of Truth; Mazi Jude Chukwu and Mazi Ukaegbu O. Ukaegbu, respectively, warned that the Federal Government would be playing with fire if it continues to delay the conduct of a referendum to allow component units in Nigeria to determine their future.
“We state that the only solution for the present political imbroglio is for the Federal Government of Nigeria to conduct a referendum in order to set free some component units of the country that are seeking for self determination. We further state that the call for referendum by the IPOB, MASSOB, EPC and other agitating groups in the country doesn’t amount to war or violence, but peaceful and good settlement of the present turmoil in the country.”
The groups expressed concern about the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and its youth wing and warned them not to risk the lives and property of Ndigbo through unguarded utterances.
“Some utterances from Ohanaeze Ndigbo and its youth wing led by one Okechukwu Isiguzo, amount to outright desecration of Igbo culture and tradition. We hereby use this medium to warn some self acclaimed Igbo leaders to stop their antics. They should desist or face the wrath of elders of Ndigbo in the country or Diaspora.”