By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU-THE leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing has pleaded with the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to forget its call for referendum on February 16 and participate in Nigeria’s presidential election scheduled for the same day.
Ohanaeze youths said that IPOB’s fixture of their own referendum same day as Nigeria election date was more or less asking for confrontation with the security agencies which could result to slaughter of innocent Igbo youths once again.
The youths also pleaded with IPOB that boycotting the Nigeria election would be counterproductive pursuant to Igbo cause of reasserting itself in the Nigeria state, while it also reminded IPOB that the Igbo was yet to recover from the 2006 census boycott which the Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB executed.
The group therefore asked IPOB to listen to voices of reason that have been pleading with them to drop their hard line posture against this year’s general elections.
National leader of Ohanaeze Youth Wing, Chief Arthur Obiora in a statement in Enugu, Monday, said “While we would not subscribe to any form of carnage by the military in our land in the name of suppressing unarmed pro-Biafra agitators; our considered opinion is that the IPOB members by their utterances and open threats are giving the military justifiable reason to flood Igbo land with soldiers.
“We appeal to any persons who have access to their leadership to let them know that they are missing it. The truth is that referendum is not solution to the problems bedeviling us as a race in Nigeria; rather, it would compound our woes as marginalised people in the Nigerian system.
“We would not want a repeat of the visionless order for the boycott of the 2006 national head-count by the then leader of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, which the Igbo would ever live to regret.”
Ohanaeze youths also aligned with the position of its parent body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the endorsement of the Presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi.
“We acknowledge the pledge of the Atiku/Obi Presidency to restructure Nigeria and unequivocally declare that restructuring is the answer to the nation’s backwardness. We would resist any attempt by any person(s) or group to frustrate the massive participation of our people in the coming elections.
“This election is critical to the future of Ndigbo as a people; hence we urge our youths irrespective of party affiliations to take active part and also support the Atiku/Obi candidature as already adopted by the National Executive Committee, NEC, of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and duly ratified by the Imeobi meeting of January 24, 2019.
“We strongly believe that there is no need for Operation python to dance in the South East, particularly, during this election period. Finally, we urge the INEC, security agencies and any other bodies involved in the electoral process to ensure free, fair and credible elections; especially, in the South East where it has been reliably gathered that certain interests want to turn it to a battle ground,” Obiora pleaded.