An Igbo cultural group Ochie Igbo, has condemned the call for boycott or no election in Anambra State. In a statement, the group said that, it has observed that fanning the embers of election boycott in Anambra is gaining converts amongst Igbo youths. Hence, it has become pertinent to address this matter so as provide youths with a more intelligence driven approach in craving for self determination.
It is worthy of note that Anambra is a very key state in Igboland and should be seen to be at the lead in the effort to align Ndigbo on the path of self redemption.
Unarguably, Anambra holds the ace of distraction and direction for Igbo renaissance. Let us take a historical excursion into the past ‘boycotts’ in Igboland.
In 2006, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) prevailed on Ndigbo to boycott the 2006 census. The outcome of that unintelligent decision was that Ndigbo recorded a painful turn out of 16, 381,729 – that is about 11.07%.
Since then, the National Bureau of Statistics, National Population Commission, The Ministry of Budget and National Planning Commission have continued to use this record to gazette the national developmental plan. Of course, the Malthusian Theory provides a solid analysis of how population will remain a dominant factor in the indices and dynamics that will
determine development of mankind, now and in the future.
Eleven years later, MASSOB in a Vanguard Newspaper publication dated 24 February, 2017 captioned MASSOB Backs National Census, Regrets Action in 2006
While MASSOB has regretted its action, the scar and consequences of that cursory and infantile decision abound.
It is a paradox of unimaginable proportion how a people that ‘willingly’ kept away from a national program will turn around to be crying for marginalisation.
In 2015 election, the turn out of Ndigbo during that exercise seem to suggest a people ‘traditionally’ nonchalant about political activities. The total number of votes cast by the entire Southeast was less than 3 million. This under representation of the numerical strength of Ndigbo, in a game that is solely determined by number is moribund. Already, INEC is almost at the third phase of its Continuous Voter Registration, so far, the results from Southeast have shown lacklustre and lackadaisical attitude in the exercise.
Evidently, Ndigbo have shown uncommon knowledge in trading, but the act is subservient to power. State, development, economics and human destiny are shaped by politics.
Our disposition to political activity makes us approach the negotiation table with timidity. We can’t negotiate from a position of strength. Those who promote this word to mouth dissemination that thrives compulsively on an evil news have no idea the damage their pedestrian stance has done to our political perception.
Alaigbo has been technically made unviable economically through a political process. We are in a terrible infrastructural decay – roads etc. Our God given mineral resources are controlled from Abuja. Yet, Ndigbo have allowed sensitive political decisions to be taken on the streets. God forbid.
Granted that we have been denied headship of any meaningful position in this administration. Can any good politician seeking vote in Nigeria take Ndigbo serious?
Be that as it may, these situations do not justify call for boycott of Anambra election by pro-biafran groups, rather it should form basis for supporting election of a governor that can stand firm against treatment of Igbos as lesser beings in Nigeria.
For the avoidance of doubt, Anambra election provides an opportunity for Ndi Anambra to choose from the plethora of candidates angling for the number one job, the one that will promote the urgent call for restructuring of Nigeria and perhaps self-determination. The promoters of the boycott are urged to have a rethink and imagine electing a governor who speaks same language of self-determination with them and who will oppose deliberate use of armed Fulani herdsmen to destroy our crops and rape our women. They should think of a governor who is one of their own.
By the way, who says that if pro-no-election campaigners boycott the guber election that a governor will not emerge?
The world powers have defined democracy as the only acceptable system, where ‘oppressors’ and the ‘oppressed’ must conform to its dictates, and by so doing find their own salvation. Going outside the democratic framework is perceived as dissent. Perhaps, lacking in the ability to conduct and coordinate themselves and confront their fears.
The Nigerian constitution does not recognise boycott and boycotting cannot invalidate the election result. As a matter of fact, what is needed to win Anambra governorship election is simple majority of votes cast, with at least 25% of votes cast in 14 LGAs out of the 21 LGAs in Anambra state, irrespective of the number of votes cast. Thats is to say that even 14 voters or a family can elect a governor.
It is evident that the argument in favour of boycott holds no water and only subjects Ndigbo and Anambra to more disasters in the days ahead and allowing a candidate who does not have any sympathy for Igbo Interest to emerge.
We must, therefore, encourage the teeming registered voters in Anambra to vote the right candidate and make sure that their votes count.
It is imperative to consider experience of people in other countries, for instance Kenyans and Liberians irrespective of clear-cut ideological differences, the electorates never asked for election boycott, rather they stood behind candidates that most promote their interests and ideologies. Catalonia is fighting for their independence using constitutionally recognised platforms and regional elected representatives that enjoy massive legitimacy and support of Catalonians. These events have caught the attention of world renowned mainstream media. Anambra election is a referendum in itself and only the pro-no-election campaigners can make Ndigbo to lose the election to the agents of our rivals masquerading as candidates in the coming election, who do not want anything good in Alaigbo. We should bear in mind that electing a pro-Igbo interest governor outweighs a million street protests. It is better to have our own in charge, than having an enemy in charge.
We therefore urge our brothers to stop the boycott campaign forthwith and prevent the plunging of Anambra into an impending unprecedented bad leadership that may end up destroying the state.
Dr Chuks Orji
Mr Theo Nwoba