Following how the sit-in orders are being issued in the South East, the chances of Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in 2023, receiving the most votes in the zone are nil.
Some Awka residents who spoke with our correspondent on Wednesday agreed with this assessment. They suspect that such orders are intended to limit Obi’s chances.
According to surveyor Jerome Ogbodo, the failure of South East leaders to find a long-term solution to such orders is concerning.
In his words, “The gap between leaders of the zone and the populace is too large. There is mistrust, which is why the populace is ready to obey such orders without complaint. The governors are just looking. Southeast lawmakers in Abuja are not doing enough to bring the federal government’s attention to the realities in the South East.
“Mr Geoffrey Onyeama is Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister. He is from Enugu State. Why can’t he use his good offices to involve the government of Finland to call Simon Ekpa to order? I am afraid of 2023, especially how Peter Obi will fare because Simon Ekpa’s excesses can make our people not to vote.”
Mr John Okolo, a politician, said South East had become a place of scorn. In his view, “The federal government has seemingly forgotten us. How many interventions have you heard from the FG in all crisis-ridden areas in South East? We are now left to eat our flesh. At a time we think courts and negotiations should be going on, somebody in Finland is issuing sit-at-home orders, no more on Mondays alone but running on consecutive days.”
Princess Ada Okafor, an event manager, told our correspondent that the emergence of a ‘Government at Large’ in the South East during the upcoming election is possible, and this would reduce the zone’s electorate’s worth.
She said, “Someday, there will be an order to stop paying levies or taxes to the government. With the way people obey the sit-at-home and security operatives disappearing on those days, I doubt if the 2023 elections would hold in Igbo land.
“I suspect that there are hands behind the scenes. Some forces are trying to make votes in South East not to count. I say this because many supporting sit-at-home don’t have contacts with Ekpa or Nnamdi Kanu. Our youths are becoming sophisticated.
“I don’t know if the release of Kanu will solve the problem. This is because it seems that IPOB is divided. Recall that Ekpa was suspended as IPOB leader, but he is still issuing commands which are obeyed. And the mainstream IPOB is more in danger because security agencies are after them. If care is not taken, IPOB will be a horror in itself. If IPOB is factionalized, I see danger looming.”
On the way out, she said, “Let Ohanaeze and political leaders of South East engage these people through dialogues. Kanu has a retinue of lawyers who can be used to dialogue with his men. He is visible. If the refusal to release him is because of fear, let our leaders discuss it with the federal government and assure them that the problem could be solved internally. The bottom line is the marginalisation of the South East by the federal government, which is glaring. But it will be disastrous if we destroy ourselves even before Biafra is achieved. It will be another kettle of fish if the federal government has a hand in this confusion.”
Recall that Simon Ekpa, former head of Radio Biafra, declared sit-at-home on December 9,10, 11, 12, and 14 in Southeast states