Ahead of the general election holding from this weekend, the Eastern Peoples Front (EPF) has called on the military and other security agencies not to yield to President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to use maximum force agaisnt political thugs and ballot box snatchers.
The group also said it is appreciative of all concerned Nigerians who joined it to get Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to reconsider his stance on the elections.
President Buhari had earlier in the week ordered the security agencies to deal ruthlessly with any ballot boxes snatcher or political thug who is found violating the electoral activities.
President Buhari who gave the order at the opening of APC’s national caucus meeting in Abuja on Monday said, “Anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or lead thugs to disturb it (elections) , maybe that would be the last unlawful action he would take. I have directed the police and the military to be ruthless.”
But the National Coordinator and Leader of the Elder Ken Emechebe, Eastern Peoples Front in a statement in Abuja on Wednsday said, “Security agencies must not yield to President Buhari’s directives, to be used to destabilise the elections. Nigerians will resist any untoward actions from them to subvert their collective desires to send Buhari and APC packing.
“Nigerian youths should also stay calm and committed to the elections, and resist being used as political thugs. They should be agents for free, fair and credible elections, which we all crave for. Any government that cares about their growth will provide jobs and opportunities for them. APC has not, but Atiku and Obi will create opportunities for them to flourish, and should be voted for.”
He also said the recent statement by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu urging his supporters in South East to participate in the general election was a welcome development.
He said, “We want to thank all who joined us to get Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to reconsider his stance on the elections, their commitment showed that the unity of Nigeria is not in doubt and Ndigbo do not truncate national elections.
“We thank the clergy for their prayers for Nigeria, and our traditional rulers for speaking the truth always; and the international and national observers of the elections, for standing with Nigeria and our democracy.
“The EPF appreciates their efforts and assures that threats on their safety by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Nasir El Rufai, is noted and roundly condemned. We are certain the good people of Kaduna State will use their votes to send the bigoted governor packing soon because such person is toxic to our democracy.”
Speaking about the election and the preparedness of INEC, Elder Emechebe said, “We are surprised about the polls’ shift within less than 24 hours after Prof. Yakubu, reportedly assured the country that there will be no suspension. This, to us suggests of foul play capable of disrupting free, fair and credible elections.
“We are equally not too sure about the status of sensitive election materials that have been posted by the commission to some parts of the country, and want a third-party verification of the materials.
“We also think that when an independent body like INEC which has all that it asked for to run the election fails, there is a need to probe and ascertain what truly happened. When did INEC discover it has such sundry logistics challenges and could not go on with the elections?
“Nevertheless, we state here that:
Whatever the situation may be, Nigerians should understand and keep in mind that politics like they say is a game and people come with different strategies which sometimes fail. The government and INEC which in our view has little independence, have by the polls’ rescheduling, provided Nigerians a good reason to massively vote out the APC on February 23, and vote in Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi of the PDP to lead the country for the next four years. This is further supported by the huge backing of Atiku and Obi by the Afenifere, PANDEF, Northern Elders Forum, Middle Belt Elders Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo, and other ethnic nationalities. We insist that whatever may be, Nigerians will wait out this rescheduling.
“The resolve of all the leaders of the various ethnic nationalities have not changed with this rescheduling. It is only a question of six days, hence, all Nigerians must be calm and committed to voting out President Muhammadu Buhari and APC. INEC’s failures must not derail this”
He urged Ndigbo across Nigeria to maintain maximum calmness and return to the polling stations to vote in Atiku and Obi.