Nigeria: Ignore IPOB, Don't Boycott Elections, Umahi Tells Igbos

13 February 2019

The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has urged the South-east to ignore the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB's call to boycott the general elections starting on Saturday.

The governor made the call in a press conference on Wednesday in Abakaliki, the state capital.

IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu, who is on exile, has asked the people of the zone not to take part in the elections.

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 South-east's wish to secede from Nigeria.

But, Mr Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South-east Governor's Forum condemned the call.

"I want to appeal to Ebonyians to disregard any call for elections boycott. In fact, if we are able to give N1.2 million votes, that will be my pride.

"The people that are lacking knowledge and facts should be ignored. Nigerians must come out and vote, Ebonyians must come out and vote, Igbo must come and vote. We are still one indivisible Nigeria.

"You may not be happy with certain things but it is normal but we (will) continue to dialogue, we (will) continue to insist, we continue to negotiate."

Mr Umahi also condemned the recent outbreak of violence in some parts of the state which he said was "orchestrated by a major political party".

He counselled the politicians and residents to be law-abiding.

"We are not known by violence, power belongs to God. The state has laws and everybody has to operate within the ambit the law of the state and that of the federal government.

"Anybody who causes violence in the name of elections, in the name of campaigns must be brought to book," he said.

He said the cases of violence in Ikwo have been reported to the Commissioner of Police.

"I want to plead that we do have violence-free elections on 16th of February and on the 2nd of March. It is very important."

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