Nine candidates in the forthcoming Anambra state governorship election have called for the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu so that the November 6 governorship election can take place. They also urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to remove the military from the South-East zone in a bid to stem the heightened tension in the area.
The Governorship candidates made their position known in a statement jointly signed by Ben Etiaba; AA flagbearer, Charles Soludo; APGA flagbearer, Obinna Uzoh; SDP flagbearer, Akachukwu Nwankpo; ADC flagbearer, Onyejegbu Okwudili; APM flagbearer, Ifeanyi Uba; YPP flagbearer, Andy Uba; APC flagbearer, Nnamdi Nnawuo; PRP flagbearer and Obiora Okonkwo; ZLP flagbearer.
A copy of the statement which was made available to Journalists in Abuja was titled “Joint statement by candidates for the Anambra State governorship election holding on November 6, 2021.”
The candidates expressed appreciation for the appeal and concerns raised by the South-East council of Traditional Rulers and the representatives of Igbo bishops and archbishops as regards the anxiety arising from the violence in the region.
In their resolutions, they said; “We, the candidates in the forthcoming Anambra State Governorship Election, commit to non-violence and the maintenance of peace throughout the duration of the election and beyond.
“We urge all our supporters and other stakeholders to commit fully to these ideas and refrain from any act that may disrupt the election.
“In order to quench all acts that may disrupt the forthcoming election, we urge the Federal Government to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo archbishops and bishops.
“We urge the Federal Government to take urgent steps to remove the military from the South-East zone and stem the heightened tension and endless blood bathing between the security agencies and our Igbo youths,” the statement concluded.
They also called on IPOB to avoid actions that would hinder the smooth running of the election.
According to their words; “We urge IPOB not to do anything that would hinder or be seen to be hindering the smooth running of the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State and to cancel all scheduled sit-at-home orders, as these have already caused untold hardship for our people.
“We call on the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Armed Forces, other security agencies and all stakeholders to discharge their mandates in accordance with law and in a fair and just manner,” the statement concluded.
Also, the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum on Tuesday called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately remove the military from the South East and embrace dialogue in other to forestall any security threat to the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
The forum also demanded the immediate release of over 5,000 Igbo youths arrested by security agencies on the suspicion of being members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network, stressing that doing so would facilitate peace process and restoration of normalcy in the South East.
The Chairman of the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum and former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, stated these during a press conference in Abuja.
Chief Ezeife said; “Our attention has been drawn to the increasing military presence in the South East, and the consequent built-up tension and security challenges in the zone, thus threatening a hitch-free conduct of the scheduled November 6, 2021 Anambra State election.
“The increasing insecurity in the South East has taken a frightening dimension and remains a terrible and worrisome puzzle that must be addressed for the Independent National Electoral Committee to conduct a free, fair and credible election in Anambra State.”
He added; “We, therefore call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to remove the military from the South East, as well as take other necessary administrative and non-kinetic measures to restore peace in the zone, thus paving way for a smooth conduct of the scheduled Anambra State election.
“Similarly, the Federal Government of Nigeria should immediately release the over 5,000 Igbo youths arrested by security agencies, and dumped in different detention camps in various parts of the country under dehumanizing conditions in the name of unknown gunmen, IPOB, ESN, among others.
“This will facilitate peace process and restoration of normalcy in the South East zone. A political solution through the instrumentality of dialogue with all relevant stakeholders is key to the present security problem in the South East.
“It is our firm belief that a secured and peaceful environment is indispensable for the conduct of free, fair and credible election in any democratic state, including Anambra State,” the statement concluded.
While stating that the Federal Government of Nigeria is central to the restoration of normalcy and peace in the zone, the former Anambra state governor urged other stakeholders to rise up to the occasion of ensuring security of lives and property in Igboland.
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