Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has accused the Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC) of plotting to disenfranchise Ndigbo who are residing in Lagos in the 2023 general elections.
Chidi-Ibeh led Ohanaeze, raised the alarm in Abakaliki, through its Secretary-General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro.
Igbo traders had closed their shops to get their permanent voter’s card at an INEC approved registration center, in Igbede in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, when some area boys allegedly besieged the area and dispersed them, even as they carted away with INEC registration machines.
The group lamented that more worrisome was that after the incident, INEC was yet to make an official statement on the issue.
“Other confirmed reports available to us have it that Ndigbo that came out to register is being turned back.
“During the 2019 General Elections, hoodlums were reported to have stormed Igbo dominated areas and burnt ballot papers on Election Day. This trend must stop immediately. INEC’s silence on matters like these is quite revealing.
“We wish to raise our voice at this time that it matters most. We wish to call our people to stand up strong, at a time the major political parties have shown their outright disdain and disrespect for the Southeast.
“The level of travesty and treachery that have been exhibited in the past few days by major political parties in Nigeria, is an indication that despite our commitment to Nigeria, despite our patriotism, despite our passion and sacrifices, we are grandly perceived as outcasts” Ohanaeze alleged.
The Igbo group called on Ndigbo to throw their weight behind the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) Chief Edozie Njoku, who resumed office few weeks ago, adding that APGA gave Chief Chekwas Okorie the Presidential flag of the Party to fly.
Noting, “while we prepare to call meeting of Imeobi were all right thinking and forward looking Igbo men and women would be invited for the presentation of a practical, measurable and achievable framework, I wish to call on Ndigbo to rise in unison and throw their weight behind Chief Edozie Njoku, the National Chairman of APGA, for having exhibited foresight, fortitude and astuteness through the reclamation of APGA from men that have no program for our people.
“However, we wish to call the attention of the whole world that the 2023 election may not hold. Some agents of politicians, on subversive mission are bent on setting this country ablaze. If this is not true, how do you explain the irresponsible action of INEC by ignoring the Supreme Court Judgment from May 9, 2022 – June 9, 2022 that declared Chief Njoku the authentic National Chairman of APGA? the group quarried.
Ohanaeze, accused Festus Okoye of working against the interest of Ndigbo, adding, “we wish to inform the DSS, DIA and DMI that Festus Okoye has less than one month to spend in INEC, therefore, he sees this on going electoral process as a cash cow and last opportunity. Sadly, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood has put the entire 2023 General Election in total jeopardy. Let the public be aware.
“As Ndigbo lick their wounds, having lost out in the PDP and APC Presidential Primaries, why is Mahmood being used to stifle the chances of Ndigbo in the coming 2023 General Elections? We shall get to the root of this.
In another development, Ohanaeze has urged Ndigbo to demand from INEC the extension of Voter’s registration exercise.
Ohanaeze commended Nigerians, especially the youths on their recent efforts to end voters’ apathy by going for their PVCs. However, the group warned Nigerians to be conscious of the alleged ongoing manipulation of the electoral process by corrupt politicians to ensure that INEC ends the ongoing voter’s registration exercise in other to curtail the surge of Nigerians hurrying to collect their PVCs.
“Nigerians must rise and demand from INEC to extend the enrollment of eligible voters till September 2022 as it appears that INEC is under pressure to disfranchise Nigerians from participating in the 2023 elections. There are undercover meetings to pressurize the INEC Chairman, to end the voter’s registration exercise by June 2022”.
“Our message to Nigerians on 2022 Democracy Day, is to take back Nigeria from the hands of corrupt politicians. We must prove to them that the labor of our heroes past shall not be in vain. Atiku, Tinubu, and Obi should be summoned by youths, Civil Rights organizations and religious organizations for a debate on issues of Nigeria’s Security, Economy, and Education. Nigerians should end a sick and antiquated President from Aso Rock in 2023 with their PVCs”, Ohanaeze stated.