Two Igbo separatist groups, Biafra Government in Exile (BGIE) and the Biafra Shadow Government (BSG), have joined the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to call for a total boycott of next month’s poll by Nigerians of Igbo extraction, saying participation would amount to endorsing enslavement of their race.
In a statement yesterday, the two groups said they would not participate in the February and March elections because “no government of Nigeria or administration of any arm of Nigeria’s government within Nigeria’s current geo-political space supports Biafra in any form or configuration, beginning from 1966.”
They also alleged constant manipulation of elections in the country, saying that at the end of every poll, Nigeria would always produce results and throw up winners to form a new administration, regardless of whether votes were cast or how the people actually voted.
The statement signed by Yahgozie Immanuel, BGIE communications director, and Evangelist Godspet Ijeoma Uhagiro, Head of BSG Information Directorate, reads in part: “We vehemently recommend that all Biafra citizens should adopt this stance and boycott these elections. BGIE and BSG arrived at this position on the basis that our activities are fully geared towards the restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra.
“The fact of the Biafra war and aftermath has never changed the ugly reality of poll manipulation. Adoption of electoral democracy in Nigeria starting from 1999 has not altered this truth, nor have the various pernicious exercises of state-creation by Nigeria.
It is also a fact that such an administration, regardless of the conduct of the elections, will have a principled and inherent opposition to anything Biafra or any mention of Biafra, even in Biafra land. Every political party registered in Nigeria must have signed an oath that makes it the functional equivalent of a criminal and or treasonable offence to adopt Biafra as the party’s standard or platform.”
Essentially, the groups said the administration that would emerge from the election would be absolutely anti-Biafran. “If we vote, there will be an anti-Biafran administration. If we don’t vote, there will also be an anti-Biafran administration. Participating in the election would mean we are supporting our own perpetual slavery, endorsing and consenting to our own eternal enslavement, thereby helping to kill your own souls.”
But in its reaction, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said “while it is a right of interest groups to make their views on issues that concern them known, such should be done without disrupting the peace of the 2019 general elections.” Spokesman to the INEC chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, who denied allegation of manipulation, said the commission was not interested in who any political party presents as candidate for an election.
“In the case of Ogun Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), INEC simply complied with a valid court ruling and it will be wrong to categorise our compliance as ‘dancing to the tune of’ any group,” he said.