Despite heightened tension, fear, drifting of Security Operatives in large numbers to cancel the threats posed by unknown gunmen, the much talked about Anambra Governorship election though not completed, has raised pertinent question as to why the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government, proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, a secessionist group, seeking for a break, away from Nigeria.
Though the election so far has been marred by low turnout of voters in some LGA’s in Anambra which could be attributed to the sit-at-home order declared by (IPOB), still election went on without incidences of killings, attacks at polling units among others, which some political observers predicted.
Records show that in areas where voters trooped out en masse, the Bimodal Voters Authentication System (BVAS), not IPOB, posed a threat to accreditation of voters. Suffice it to say that the greatest challenge in the Anambra election is the malfunctioning of the BVAS, which, since introduction, has been the problem encountered in INEC’s quest to deliver free, fair and credible elections.
It will then be wise to submit at this point, that the Federal Government actually knows how to make this country work and be a better place for US all. It is indeed regrettable that the federal government and INEC, since the introduction of Card Reader and the shift to BVAS, are yet to find solutions to its’ malfunctioning during elections.
Without much derail, a research into countries where terrorists operate has shown that elections are not conducted successfully as these groups storm polling units and truncate the electoral process.
In Nigeria for example, elections did not hold in some parts of Borno State, North-East of Nigeria in 2015 and 2019, simply because, the Boko Insurgents held some LGAs spell bound which prevented the electoral umpire, the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to distribute electoral materials to those LGAs.
Using the Anambra election as a case study, if IPOB, a group in the South-East, fighting for the State of Biafra, is actually a terrorist organisation as claimed by FG, how come the group allowed elections to go on in Anambra peacefully without incidences of attacks on polling units or harassment of electorates that trooped out to vote for their preferred candidates?
The truth remains that a terrorist group cannot see an opportunity to further leverage it’s ideology such as election, and refuse to utilise it by attacking not just citizens but the bigwigs who will participate in the electoral process thereby announcing their control and presence in such region.
Hinging on the already established example, IPOB, a day to the Anambra election, called off the sit-at-home order, to protest the detention of it’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, held by the DSS over charges bothering on treason, terrorism among others, but when leaders including Governors, Traditional Rulers among other influential people from the zone pressurised on the group, they called off the order, which raises the question, “Is IPOB actually a terrorist group”?
It is pertinent at this point, to advise the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to actually take pains and deal with the real enemies of Nigeria together with her challenges. The electoral process as exposed by the Anambra election shows at a glance that there is every need to address the inadequacies so far faced especially in the electoral process as 2023 general election approaches.
I will not also fail to advise the Buhari led government to deal decisively with bandits unleashing mayhem in the country and count IPOB – fighting for the injustices of the administration out of the myriad challenges bedevilling the country. IPOB could not have called off its sit-at-home order, if they were not open to dialogue.
The Anambra election, where huge resources was spent on logistics, has completely exposed that the Nigerian government have problems to deal with than beaming searchlight on the “supposed” terrorists of South-East extraction, who on Saturday November 6, 2021, exhibited once again that they are not a terrorist group, rather, a group, calling for a just Nigeria where all, irrespective of religious or ethnic divide will be favoured.
Now that the Anambra election has been partly concluded with no disturbances so far apart from BVAS issue, the federal government known for impunity, should pause and ask themselves what actually happened in places where voters didn’t show up as well as address all agitations in the land, so that by 2023, all aggrieved regions in the country, would gladly walk down to the poll and elect a candidate that will fix Nigeria and make it work for us all.
Such process will include, de-proscribing IPOB, who are only calling for a virile and egalitarian society.
A stitch in time, saves nine.
Long live the South-East geopolitical zone, long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
By Izuchukwu Nwokoma.