The Anambra State Governorship election is good to go following the decision of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to cancel its one week sit-at-home order across the South-East.
The announcement by the proscribed group removes the apprehension that has enveloped the state in the last few days, even as the security forces continued its onslaught on IPOB and similar groups that have made life nightmarish there.
Meanwhile, candidates in the election on Thursday signed a peace accord in Awka, the state capital.It was facilitated by the National Peace Committee, chaired by former military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Those who signed were Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party, Godwin Maduka of the Accord Party (AP), Etiaba Chukwuogo of the Action Alliance (AA),
Ifeanyi Uba of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress and Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Others were Ezenwafor Victor of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Nnamdi Nwawuo of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Uzo Godwin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Okonkwo Francis of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Nwankwo Chidozie of the African Action Congress (AAC), Onyejegbu Okwudili of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Ohajimkpo Emeka of the New Nigeria Peoples Party.
The accord is equally binding on the candidate’s political parties and is expected to encourage signees to take proactive steps “towards ensuring a conducive environment for the conduct of a credible electoral process.”
The signees also pledged to “fully abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to respect the rules and regulations as laid down in the Legal Framework for Elections in Nigeria, and to adhere to best international standards.”
Under the accord, the candidates and their parties are expected to “support all institutions of government involved in conducting or securing the elections – in particular INEC and the security forces – to act with professionalism, impartiality and transparency.”
They are also to “encourage state agencies, institutions and public officers not to support partisan interests in any form” and to “encourage their political stalwarts and supporters to desist from propagating fake news and publishing fake results via social media and to ensure uninterrupted and uncompromised freedom of expression and information, both online and offline, throughout the electoral process.”
The accord demands of the signees to “respect that the results can only be announced by INEC, and to accept the outcome of the vote, as long as it is adjudged to be free, fair and credible, devoid of intimidation and conducted in accordance with the provisions of the law.”
IPOB said the sir-at-home order was called off following consultations with elders, traditional, and religious leaders from the Southeast.
Spokesman of IPOB, Emma Powerful, disclosed this in a statement he issued on Thursday evening.
According to Powerful: “Following the genuine intervention of our elders, esteemed traditional Institutions /Rulers and Religious Leaders, and after a due consideration of the positive impacts of their engagement, and sequel to the fact that Our elders have spoken in our terms , the Leadership of IPOB ably lead by MAZI NNAMDI Kanu hereby and immediately CALL OFF THE ONE WEEK SIT AT HOME earlier declared to commence tomorrow, November 5 to November 10, 2021.
“We have equally considered several appeals by our mothers who earn their living based on their daily economic activities which will obviously be affected if Biafra land is locked down for one whole week. It’s never our intention to add to the pains of our people, hence our decision to suspend the sit-at-home.
“IPOB leadership is only interested in Our referendum and peaceful agitation for self determination, and can not by under any guise be seen to be interfering with any electoral process.”
It added: “The people of Anambra State should go out enmasse and peacefully exercise their franchise come 6th November 20121 and accordingly, chose a leader of their Choice and should not be intimidated by anybody, group of persons or security agents.
“Credible intelligence available to us confirmed that the Nigeria DSS has concluded arrangement to deploy a branch of their trained terrorist group to Anambra state come 6th Day 2021, to unleash mayhem on our people and attribute the killing to peaceful IPOB members.
“Anambrarians should vote and standby to protect their votes. No rigging of any kind will be tolerated on the Anambra State governorship election. It must be transparent, free and fair to all.
“We wish to thank Biafrans, IPOB members worldwide, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom for their continued support for our dogged struggle for independence.”
Recall that the United States warned that anyone who interferes with the lawful conduct of the Anambra state government or instigates violence in the South East state would be given visa restriction.
A statement on Wednesday from the US Embassy in the country said that the American government looks forward to a gubernatorial election in Anambra State on November 6 that is peaceful and transparent, with results that accurately reflect the will of the state’s residents.
The statement added that: “We will be paying close attention to actions of individuals who interfere with the democratic process or instigate violence against civilian populations before, during, or after the elections.
“We will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.”
The statement further explained that: “Under U.S. immigration law, certain violations also may lead to restrictions on family members.”
The statement however called on citizens, electoral officials, party members, and security force personnel to do their part in ensuring a credible and secure electoral process.