Ibrahim Mustapha has carefully written on Soludo’s victory and IPOB’s continuing threat.
The Anambra State gubernatorial election conducted on November 6, has come and gone with Professor Chukwuma Soludo of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The election came at a time the southeast states have become no-go areas as a result violent activities of IPOB. The outlawed group had threatened fire and brimstone if INEC dared to conduct election in Anambra State. With its sit-at-home directives which paralysed social and economic activities of the state, many Nigerians expressed doubts as to whether the group will allow Anambra people to exercise their civic responsibility as guaranteed by the constitution. There were also fears that IPOB would unleash violence against the electorate and thereby stop the election from holding.
Despite some pockets of violence, the election went smoothly and winner declared. Although, hitches were experienced during the voting leading to cancellation of result in some polling units, INEC deserves pat on its back for conducting a credible poll in the state.
Government’s deployment of massive security to forestall attempts to scare voters and disrupt election coupled with IPOB’s threat had created voters apathy. Many prospective voters who were supposed to be in polling units remained indoors or refused to come out for fear of the unknown. Whatever might have contributed to voters’ apathy in Anambra’s just concluded poll, the success recorded by electoral umpire should not be overlooked. The Anambra election points out that the coast is clear for the 2023 elections in the troubled southeast.
The Ndigbo which is the apex social cultural organization of the Igbo land should prevail on their youths to stop violence and embrace peace. Nothing can be achieved through violence. While it is legitimate for IPOB to agitate or frown at government’s policy of exclusion which they claimed to be their motive, it is wrong for IPOB to resort to violence for something that can be resolved democratically and peacefully.
Can Soludo’s victory end orgy of violence in Anambra state and other southeast states? The former CBN governor is certainly not unaware of the destructive ideologies of IPOB and the unprecedented havoc unleashed on the law abiding people of his state. Governor-elect Chukwuma Soludo should quickly work in concert with traditional rulers and other stakeholders towards persuasion, de-escalation of tensions, restoring of normalcy and lasting peace in Anambra State. Southeast, which is home for entrepreneurs, has been badly affected by the activities of Eastern security Network (ESN), which is believed to be the armed wing of IPOB. Their frequent attacks have led to the death of prominent people of the zone; aside chasing investors away, it has put their economy on virtual lockdown. Let the southeast governors use Soludo’s victory to foster unity and put IPOB’S threat to corporate coexistence of the country at bay.
Written by: Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State.