The indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) did the unthinkable at the weekend: It held a massive protest in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State, warning residents of the State not to venture out to vote this Saturday if they loved their lives.
Also, Radio Biafra, which has been off the air for a while came back on air with an announcement sacking Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as IPOB’s supreme commander, amidst media reports of jitters within security agencies over the radio station’s re-emergence.
However, as the IPOB drama plays out, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called on the State’s electorate to disregard threats by the outlawed IPOB and turn out en masse to exercise their franchise at the polls.
Major contenders in the election: Dr. Tony Nwoye (APC), Governor Willie Obiano (APGA), Oseloka Obaze (PDP), Godwin Ezeemo (PPA), Osita Chidoka (UPP) appeared ready to slug it out at the ballot as they reeled out summarised versions of their programmes and fired barbs at each other in a televised debate on Channels Television Sunday night.
Understandably, incumbent Obiano was at the receiving end as other candidates tore at his programmes in the last four years to show they could do better.
Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari made the call in the wake of the so called “vote and die” threat by IPOB and reassured Anambrarians that security agencies are fully prepared and on ground to ensure the safety of voters before, during and after the election.
He described the renewed threat as an attempt by miscreants to stampede the will of the people using baseless intimidation in pursuit of their untoward ends, but was emphatic that the election will not only hold as scheduled but will be without security failures.
In his words, “The renewed threat is not taking the authorities by surprise. All adequate measures to checkmate the excesses of IPOB and other unlawful groups with regard to the Anambra election are already fully in place. The security agencies are prepared to forestall any breakdown of law and order and to protect voters, other election actors and the general public toward a hitch free election.
Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is very prepared to conduct the election. Let no one be afraid or in doubt; the Anambra Governorship Election will hold on November 18, 2017 and will be free, fair, credible and devoid of incidences. The electorate is therefore implored to turn out en masse, without fear of intimidation, and freely cast their votes”.