If I had any confusion about the viral rumour that the APC might be bankrolling the criminal activities of Simon Ekpa and the hoodlums he commands to continue stirring chaos in the Southeast, hiding under Biafran secessionist struggle, the fact that the presidential campaign train of the All Progressives Congress is visiting Imo today, with President Buhari in tow, yet Simon Ekpa could not declare a sit-at-home like he is wont to, has cleared that confusion.
Many IPOB bloggers and independent social media users, sympathetic to IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu, had consistently accused Simon Ekpa of having entered into a contract with the APC to destabilise the Southeast and discourage as many voters as possible from coming out to exercise their franchise, but the elusive terrorist and his ragtag apostles have consistently debunked this as a lie. But, actions they say, speak louder than voice.
How do you explain a situation where a group that claims to be opposed to holding elections in the Southeast, would all keep quiet and allow their members to go about their businesses, when a campaign rally of the Party under whose watch their leader is detained indefinitely, even against court orders, yet, declare and enforce a totally unnecessary and traitorous sit-at-home every other Monday and on the election day?
Those who advance this theory of Simon Ekpa being a mercenary of the APC hinge their argument on the premise that reducing the total number of vote haul in the Southeast will be to the advantage of the APC because it would drastically reduce the votes of the Labour Party in what is seen by many as the biggest stronghold of the Labour Party presidential candidate. Going by the facts available, I will not dismiss this theory easily.
Nnamdi Kanu, who is the undisputed leader of the new generation Biafran secessionists, had on several occasions in the last few months, denounced any act of violence in any part of the Southeast and even abolished the sit-at-home orders, apparently, showing himself amenable to exploiting more peaceful and political strategies to resolving the impasse between the IPOB and the Buhari led Federal Government. Curiously, it was at this point that the Simon Ekpa group, otherwise known as the Autopilot faction of the IPOB, increased their violent attacks across the Southeast, grinding economic and social activities, and visiting much more terror on the people. While the recognised leadership of the IPOB has variously disclaimed any sit-at-home order during election days in the Southeast, the Simon Ekpa faction has been unyielding in its determination to stop Southeast voters from coming out to exercise their franchise.
Also, in recent weeks, there has been an increased spate of attacks targeted on LP officials and known sympathizers of the LP presidential candidate in the Southeast. As of the last count, at least two legislative candidates of the Labour Party have been killed and many supporters of the Party have come under different degrees of attacks. Those who perpetrate these attacks do not leave anyone guessing about what their intentions are; No Election.
There have been reports that security agents aid the success of sit-at-home orders in the Southeast. The people of the Southeast are ready to defy these orders if they are guaranteed of adequate security and safety, but there are reports that most police and Army checkpoints across the Southeast get deserted on any sit-at-home day. Of course, this wouldn’t have been so, if the personnel didn’t get orders from above to vacate the checkpoints. The Commander-in-Chief is the APC leader and has left no one in doubt about his preference for his Party to retain power at the centre. It will not be out of place to suspect that the insecurity in the Southeast is part of a voter suppression strategy designed and being implemented by the ruling Party.
Already, millions of eligible voters will not be casting their votes in the Southeast, while hundreds of thousands of new registrants might not have collected their PVCs. So, you could say that the scheme has succeeded in part, but, while the Southeast will not be able to vote as massively as they would have wanted for Peter Obi, other Nigerians will vote massively for him and Peter Obi will win the election. Those who designed this scheme made the mistake of thinking that Peter Obi is a Southeast project, but I believe they are already realising that the Labour Party presidential candidate is a nationwide hurricane and he will likely get more votes from other parts of Nigeria than he will in the Southeast, and this will make him a truly Nigerian President, and not a sectional leader.
NIGERIA SHALL PREVAIL!
BY ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
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