•Burning of INEC offices, dangerous trend —Okwesilieze Nwodo
•Peter Obi’s opponents’ funding attacks on INEC facilities—Ezeife
•We should exercise patience, allow elections to hold —Umeh
•No hand in attacks on INEC offices —IPOB
By Chioma Gabriel, Peter Okutu, Nwabueze Okonkwo, Steve Oko & Ikechukwu Odu
The former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Okwesilieze Nwodo; a former civilian Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; and a former National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Senator Victor Umeh have lashed out at those responsible for the consistent attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the southeast, describing same as a dangerous phenomenon and attacks against the Igbo.
From Enugu to Anambra, Ebonyi to Imo, many INEC offices have severally been attacked by unknown individuals and vital documents have been destroyed.
The attacks have been described as strange and extremely unusual.
The security agencies have attributed these attacks to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the group has vehemently denied involvement.
Many people have equally accused politicians who are afraid of losing the next election of being responsible so the electorate would be subjected to the usage of incidence forms.
Others have blamed enemies of Ndigbo to be responsible which has put the zone in a disadvantaged position.
Speaking against the trend, the paramount traditional ruler of Abiriba ancient kingdom, Eze Kalu Kalu Ogbu (Enachioken Abaribe), said that he had a strong feeling that those behind the senseless attacks on INEC facilities in South East are wicked politicians and enemies of Ndigbo desperate to whittle down the electoral fortunes of the zone in 2023.
He said that contrary to allegations by security agencies, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, might not be responsible for the attacks as the group had severally denied responsibility.
According to the monarch, some evil politicians who do not wish the Igbo well might be the masterminds in their desperation to reduce the number of votes that would be produced from the South East during the forthcoming general elections.
He said that those who feel threatened by the rising political awareness in the zone and the impressive interest being shown by Igbo youths for the 2023 poll, might have resorted to frustrating the people by sponsoring the destruction of INEC facilities.
He however urged Ndigbo to be circumspect and resist any attempt to frustrate Igbo political interest in 2023.
Burning of INEC offices, dangerous trend—Okwesilieze Nwodo
Speaking on the issue, the former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Okwesilieze Nwodo, said that the burning of the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, across South East states and other parts of the country is a dangerous trend which must be stopped.
Nwodo who commended INEC for introducing the BVAS device for the conduct of elections in Nigeria added that it would guarantee credible elections in Nigeria in 2023.
He called on security agencies to wake from their slumber and guard the facilities of INEC to forestall further onslaught on the Commission, adding that elections cannot hold in an atmosphere of violence.
“Burning of INEC offices in Nigeria is a dangerous trend because there is no way you can conduct free and fair elections in an atmosphere of violence. INEC has done well by introducing the BVAS device that helps in the electronic transmission of results. We believe that we are going to have better elections now.
“But these attacks on INEC offices is a big challenge which the Commission can do nothing about. Security agencies should live up to expectations to stop the attacks on INEC facilities. There are lot of talks but less action from the security agencies. They must provide security for INEC before it can live up to expectations.
“If the attack continues in the South East and the election is conducted, INEC will go ahead to declare the winner and the result may not favour the region,” he said.
In his reaction, the Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Nsukka Local Government Area chapter of Enugu State, Prof. Damian Opata, condemned the incessant burning of offices of the INEC, saying that if it continues, it would cast doubt on the power process in Nigeria.
Opata, therefore, urged all the tiers of government to take proactive actions to stop further attacks on INEC facilities.
While saying that the situation is tragic, he called on the security agencies to step up their actions in protecting INEC offices nationwide.
Peter Obi’s opponents’ funding attacks on INEC facilities —Ezeife
In his reaction, a former Civilian governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife attributed the incessant attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in the southeast geo-political zone to the handiwork of political opponents of the Labour Party, LP, Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi.
He said the game plan of the opponents is to destroy the INEC facilities and render the electorate in the zone impotent.
In a telephone chat with newsmen yesterday, Ezeife disagreed with some insinuations making the rounds that the attacks on INEC facilities were being perpetrated by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB.
According to Ezeife: “It is only the deaf and the dumb that did not hear the IPoB leader himself, Nnamdi Kanu saying on several occasions that IPoB does not encourage violence or even sit-at-home, let alone involving itself in the acts.
“So, the issue of whether IPoB is involved in the act or not is neither here nor there based on the words that came out from Kanu”s mouth”.
We should exercise patience and allow elections to hold —Umeh
Also speaking, Senator Victor Umeh, former National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, appealed to angry Nigerians to sheathe their swords and allow the 2023 general elections to take place.
He said that it is obvious that Nigerians are not happy with the present administration because of impoverishment but that he is pleading with Nigerians to exercise patience and allow the elections .
Senator Umeh who is also the senatorial candidate of Labour Party for the Anambra Central zone urged angry Nigerians to use election opportunities to know the type of person they will vote for so that in future, they will smile again.
No hand in attacks on INEC offices —IPOB
Meantime, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has dissociated itself from attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in the southeast.
The pro-Biafra movement told security agencies to stop linking it with the senseless attacks on INEC facilities.
IPOB promised hard times for anybody engaging in the destruction of INEC facilities and pretending to be doing so on behalf of the pro-Biafra movement.
“ESN operatives never attacked INEC office because we are not interested in this Nigeria’s forthcoming election in 2023”.
who are destroying election materials.”
IPOB accused security agencies of hoarding information about the true identities of those behind the attacks on INEC facilities.
IPOB challenged the security agencies on why no arrests had been made of the purported attackers if they were truly IPOB members.
“Both government agencies and those attacking INEC facilities are working together to blackmail IPOB.
“That is why the same security agencies have never arrested any of the so-called attackers.