Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has appealed to residents of Anambra State to keep the peace so that the November 6 governorship election will be violence-free.
This is coming as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has denied calling for the boycott of the Anambra State governorship election, barely 48 hours to the poll. IPOB said its members are not interested in the Anambra governorship election.
The group stressed that reports claiming it called for a boycott of Saturday’s election are false and unfounded. IPOB’s Spokesman, Emma Powerful, said the group’s focus is the release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and not the conduct of the election.
According to Powerful: “We are IPOB under the command and leadership of our great Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. We wish to correct some misconceptions, unfounded speculations, and outright falsehood concerning our position on the forthcoming November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
“First of all, we wish to reiterate that IPOB did not at any time issue an order or call for the boycott of the said election contrary to misconceptions in certain quarters. In fact, IPOB has nothing to do with the Anambra election. Nobody should therefore link us with the election.
“The priority of IPOB is to secure the unconditional release of our Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who has been illegally detained since his rendition to Nigeria. All we said was that if by November 4 those who abducted, renditioned, and illegally detained him fail to release him unconditionally, Biafrans shall embark on civil disobedience of one-week sit-at-home beginning from November 5 to November 10.
“This action has nothing to do with the Anambra election. As a matter of fact, we are not concerned if anyone wishes to participate or not to participate in the Anambra election.”
The group also denied ordering the shutting down of all hotels in Anambra, adding, “that voice note ordering all hotels in Anambra to shut down must stop. We now order all our volunteers to unravel the monster behind this wicked voice note. It’s now very obvious that some traitors are out to demonise IPOB.”
Ahead of the election, INEC has begun the distribution of electoral materials to the 21 local government areas of the state. The INEC team in charge of the distribution is led by the Festus Okoye, national commissioner and chairman, information, voter education and publicity committee.
They are currently said to be at the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Awka, the state capital, handing over the materials to the electoral officers.
In the past months, there has been unease and doubt over the possibility of the governorship election taking place owing to violent attacks in the state and the sit-at-home order by the proscribed IPOB.
The Federal Government maintained that the election will take place on the scheduled date.
Candidates in the election signed a peace accord in Awka, the state capital, on Thursday with INEC chairman, present at the ceremony which was facilitated by the National Peace Committee.
Speaking at the ceremony, Yakubu said the commission has done all it can to make the election process hitch-free. He appealed to residents to keep the peace so that election will be violence-free.