The South-east Council of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria has urged its subjects and all residents of the South-east to ignore any sit-at-home order and massively go out to vote for their preferred candidates.
Also disturbed by the infamous order of sit-at-home by a faceless one-man insurgent, the apex Igbo socio-political body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has ordered the people of the South-east to ignore any further order or move to stop them from coming out to cast their votes in the next week presidential election.
The outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which initiated sit-at-home order in the region, has since asked residents of the area to ignore the order except on the days its leader, Nnamdi Kanu has court cases.
However, gunmen have continued to enforce the order. A separatist group led by Finland-based Simon Ekpa had also declared sit-at-home during the forthcoming elections.
But in a communiqué issued at the end of the first 2023 Executive Committee Meeting of the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers (SECTR) at the Old Eastern Nigeria House of Chiefs, Enugu, the monarchs deliberated on the role of traditional institution in ensuring peace and security, particularly in the run up to the general election and took a number of decisions.
“First, the royal fathers called on the people of the South-east to go out en masse to vote for their preferred candidates during the elections and to ignore any order for sit-at-home.
“Second, the council appealed to the security agencies to create a conducive and safe environment for the general election; while calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to act professionally and patriotically.
“Third, the killings and destruction of property in South-eastern region and across the country are condemned in strong terms by the council.
“Fourth, the council called on all traditional rulers to take control of their various domains during the upcoming elections for peaceful, free and credible elections to take place,” it said.
The communiqué was signed by Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, Chairman, South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers as well as Igwe Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha and Chairman of Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers.
It was also signed by Eze Joseph Nwabeke, the Ezeamara of Eziama Ntigha, and Chairman, Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers.
The meeting was attended by the revered Royal Fathers and other members of the Executive Committee of the Council.
Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has ordered the people of the South-east to ignore any further order or move to stop them from coming out to cast their votes in the next week presidential election.
This was contained in a resolution reached after an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, presided over by the Secretary General of the group, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, in Enugu.
The NEC elaborated on a few issues of national interest and reached some major resolutions among which is the most worrisome among the issues raised is the sit-at-home and total lock down order to the Igbo by one Simon Ekpa, who is based in Finland.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, expressed shock, doubting that a true Igbo will unconscionably embark on a disingenuous duplicitous adventure that is aimed at denigrating, disenfranchising and decimating his people.
According to him, the most disturbing is that the unscrupulous sit-at-home and total lock down order by Ekpa falls within the Nigerian general election.
“Ohanaeze stands firmly on natural justice and equity to proclaim that it is the turn of the South East of Nigeria to produce a President for Nigeria and by the irrevocable forces of providence, the right thinking Nigerians and the global community have embraced the virtues in Peter Obi as the most suitable, competent, visionary, inspiring and energetic presidential candidate for the forthcoming general election.
“It is therefore strange that at the very rare consensus and convergence of history, equity, public consciousness and expertise in Obi, an impetuous youth will engage in an unreflective drum-beat that draws his people to a macabre dance.
“It is also curious that while the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful has dissociated IPOB from “any sit-at-home in the South-East during the election period, urging residents to disregard the rumoured order making the rounds by the Simon Ekpa” and that “IPOB is only interested in the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu”; the Autopilot ignores the necessary landing permit by his people.
“Ohanaeze therefore urges the residents in Igbo land to ignore the sit at home in its entirety.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo commends the interventions with the Finish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen by Chief Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Usman Baba, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Igbo Union in Finland, the public especially the youths and the reassurances of President Muhammadu Buhari with respect to security and a free and fair election in 2023,” he said.
The NEC used the opportunity to pass a vote-of-confidence on the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Okey Emuchay, and the National Publicity Secretary, Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, for their selfless services for the Igbo nation.
Amby Uneze in Owerri