- Members of the separatist group have been asked to participate in 2019 general elections
- The leader of the proscribed IPOB group, Nnamdi Kanu, called off boycott of the polls
- Kanu initially told members of the group to sit at home on the elections day as a form referendum to determine their continued allegiance to Nigeria
- The IPOB leader and his group are considered a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian government: the IPOB was proscribed by a court order in 2018, and Kanu's call for boycott is illegal
- A pan-Igbo organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has severally told Igbos to ignore the calls and exercise their right in 2019 elections
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Thursday night, February 14, asked members of the separatist group to participate in 2019 general elections after initially calling for a boycott.
Reports by The Guardian have claimed that Kanu said: "Having confirmed this evening that all our preconditions and terms have been met, signed, sealed and delivered; I hereby call-off the election boycott across Biafraland on February 16 presidential election."
He initially told members of the group to sit home on the election day as a form referendum to determine their continued allegiance to Nigeria.
The group, seeking an independent state of Biafra, said the boycott will serve as a form of a referendum of the predominantly Igbo people of the southeast’s wish to secede from Nigeria.
IPOB spokesman, Comrade Emma Powerful, in a statement said, the referendum is to “ascertain number of those who want Nigeria politics and those who want Biafra freedom through a peaceful and democratic process for the sovereignty of our dear nation Biafra.”
Nnamdi Kanu was declared a terrorist in 2018 by a court in 2018 and southeast governors’ forum also proscribed his group at an emergency meeting held at the Enugu government house.
Legit.ng reported that the meeting was attended by governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, and Willie Obiano.
He is considered therefore to be in no position to determine how the people of southeast Nigeria vote.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that a southeast socio-cultural group, Imeobi Igbo Forum, called on residents of the region to ignore the order given by Nnamdi Kanu to boycott the forthcoming election and demand for referendum.
The forum's national chairman, Chief Mike Ikeguru-Onugha, said Kanu's order to boycott the election will not benefit the region.
Ikeguru-Onugha urged residents to go out en masse and vote for the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Peter Obi.
Also, Nigerians of Igbo extraction were called upon by the southwest council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to disregard the boycott on Saturday, February 16, day of the 2019 presidential elections.
The call from the Igbo socio-cultural group was contained in a statement by the spokesman for the group, Prince Erondu Uche.
It read in part: “After a critical analysis of the importance of the 2019 election to the Igbo nation, the Southwest executive council of Ohanaeze Southwest (SWEC) decided to meet to ensure that all eligible Igbo indigenes, who have their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), participate actively in the elections."
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