Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said plans are at an advanced stage for the first in its three-stage referendum process, towards the peaceful, non-violent restoration of the nation of Biafra.
IPOB said its decision to hold the first of the three plebiscite, later this year, has vindicated its resilience in sticking to the principles of non-violent agitation for Biafra, in the face of government’s brutality and treachery from enemies within.
A statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, said efforts geared towards the first referendum are gathering momentum, with dates for the exercise to be announced, imminently. He added that 40 million ballot papers are being printed for distribution to every clan and village in Biafraland, for all adults over the age of 18 to express their preference.
Powerful said: “Through this age-old democratic process, IPOB shall return power to the long-suffering down-trodden masses, to enable them to determine their destiny, which was cruelly taken away by successive Nigerian governments. This massive consultation exercise will guide all future IPOB activities and, hopefully, address the issue of lack of wider participation by the people, which some Nigerian government agents within have often cited as their reason for working against the emergence of Biafra.
“Those who set out to mislead the populace by equating IPOB’s call for a referendum as a call for war, in order to mask their betrayal of the people, will no doubt find another reason or excuse to object to this upcoming plebiscite.
“Our fight is against a deliberate government policy of mass poverty, irreconcilable and divergent value systems, marginalisation, deprivation, incessant state-sponsored murder, terrorism and unimaginable Fulani nepotism. IPOB’s call for the referendum has nothing to do with war.
“It is worth reminding Ohanaeze Ndigbo and their likes that on February 11, 1961, Nigeria conducted a referendum for the people of Southern Cameroon, to determine whether they wish to be part of Nigeria or merge with Francophone northern Cameroon.
“This referendum resulted in the peaceful secession of the then National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) controlled Anglophone Cameroon from Nigeria. In other words, they voted to leave Nigeria for good. That was democracy in action, not war.
“No war was fought and no ethnic group was threatened with annihilation. If those parading themselves as leaders, with their much touted academic accomplishments, are not aware of this relatively modern history, then the pervading ignorance in Nigeria, occasioned by the spectacular collapse of the education system, is more generational than earlier thought.” (The Sun)