The Niger chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an Igbo cultural group, has cautioned Igbo people resident outside the South-East against rushing to their ancestral homes during the 2019 general elections.
Chief Emmanuel Ezeugo, President of the chapter, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Minna that Igbo people should, rather, stay and vote where they are ordinarily resident so as to determine the leaders of such societies.
Ezeugo said: “A major challenge we usually face during election period is the mass exodus of Igbo people to the South-East.
“Such mass movement is borne out of anxiety and fear of the unknown. I am worried about this because it denies my people the right to vote and ensure that their numbers count, where they reside.
“We have been discussing this issue among ourselves and our resolve is that we should all stay where we are and vote for leaders of our choice.”
He said that such mass movement had often posed a huge risk to the travelers, their families and properties, and assured those in Niger that their security was guaranteed.
He said: “Our strength in Niger lies in our population, resources and wisdom. We must stay here and harness such advantage at crucial moments like election time.”
Ezeugo expressed his people’s readiness to support the state government’s efforts toward a better life for the people, and urged government to involve them in governance because they contribute much revenue to the state.
He pointed out that many Igbo people resident in Niger were born there, adding that it was the only place they call home.
He said: “My people have enviable assets across the state and deserve to be part of the governing process; we have the numerical strength to win elections and should be allowed and supported to try our electoral might.”
Ezeugo tasked his people to remain law abiding, declaring that peace and unity were key to the growth of any society.