2023: Simon Ikpa, an exile, threatens Igbo political fortunes
Simon Ekpa

By Ori Martins

It is now very obvious that the activities of the Mr. Sam Ekpa’s faction of the  Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are posing a serious threats to the the  expected Igbo political fortunes hinged on the 2023 elections. 

Ekpa’s faction of IPOB has vowed to stop election from holding in the South East zone unless detained leader of the group, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is released from prisons as directed by the court of appeal. Ekpa, who is based in faraway Finland, has remained unmoved as his group and unknown gunmen perpetrate carnage in the South east.

The misfortune here is measured on the premise that the South East region is believed to be the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate Mr. Peter Obi’s biggest support base.

“Every well meaning Igbo and indeed, Nigerians of good conscience, must be highly disturbed  by the recent activities of the Sam Ekpa’s faction of IPOB. This idea of maintaining that there will be no election in the South East except Nnamdi Kanu is released is surely not well calculated.

“Already, there are fears in the South East as the masses are expressing concern about insecurity. By insisting there will be  no election in the South East, Ekpa and his group are instilling fear into the minds of the people and it will automatically provoke voters apathy.

“The end result of this will be low turnout on election day, particularly the February 25, 2023 presidential election. Of course, there has been the calculation that Obi, due to the massive support he has been receiving across the the country, especially in the South East, might be expected as the first ever Igbo executive president of Nigeria.

“However, if Ndigbo do not come out en masse to vote due to an insecurity alarm  occasioned by Ekpa’s threat made possible by the Federal Government’s failure to release Nnamdi Kanu, then, be assured that Ndigbo will suffer a huge political misfortune that may take a long time to recover from”, Precious Ikechim, a political scientist, submitted.

Currently, the South East political zone is angling  for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. Consequently, following the amazing rise of Obi to political stardom and acceptability, Ndigbo now see the LP presidential candidate as the easiest route to the presidency.

Comrade Ignatius Nwokodi, the coordinator of Igbo Zuruezu Nihe Nile, gave more insights into why Ekpa’s actions may cause a political doom to the region in 2023.

“Virtually all the South East political landscapes are mapped  in  the colours of LP because of Obi. The youths, who are said to be the highest number of registered  voters, are the ones propelling the Obi campaign.

“The women  and the traders are all rooting for Obi. In short, most Igbo people are working for Obi to win the election but this cannot be realized if Igbo leaders fail to call Ekpa to order. This continued call for a sit-at-home  and threat of  no election in South East if Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is not released, may likely be a clog to this noble dream”.

Since this year, there have been several controversial sit-at-home directives emanating from the camp of Ekpa, which elicited much condemnation from the public.

“We have a big problem in our hands as most of the sit-at-home orders by Ekpa seem to be at variance with the goal of what most people in the South East are clamouring for.

“For instance, based on the socio-economic realities of the present time, where things are very difficult, why must a true and sincere liberator be calling for a sit-at-home or boycott of the election? Igbo leaders must call Ekpa to order if our goal of seeing Obi as president must be realized” Joe Ikenkwocha, convener, People’s Power Movement, enthused.

A survey carried out by Business Hallmark indicated that many South East residents  have yet to collect thier PVCs as gunmen had on few occasions disrupted  permanent voters’ cards’ collection centres, killing innocent people in the process.

Therefore, the fear of gunmen is a major reason many people may not come out in good numbers on election day to cast their votes.

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