This is in addition to non registration of millions of their brothers and sisters of voting age during various voters’ registrations carried out across the country by INEC. Further added to the foregoing was systematic massacre of their innocent brothers and sisters trading and residing in the north through politically sponsored radical Islamist insurgency. Of the estimated 13,500 citizens, slaughtered in the referenced insurgency in Nigeria since 2009, according to the Presidency, at least 5,000 belong to the Igbo nation, while the rest are of other Christian populations. The number of Muslims affected is very insignificant, i.e. killed in bomb blasts.
Following this unprovoked and unwarranted massacre, most of the remaining Igbo natives particularly of Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe and Plateau residency fled in droves to escape further massacre. Those that chose to remain either gave up their religion for Islam or remained at the mercies of the host hostile population and unfriendly State governments. Those were the Igbo natives the likes of the Governor of Borno State praised for “voting massively for Mr. Muhammadu Buhari and his APC”.
It is on record that during the referenced massacre, none of other federating partners in Nigeria except the South-south sympathized and consoled the Igbo natives. Other referenced federating partners were indirectly mocking the Igbo race and encouraging more violence against the innocent race. During the presidential campaigns, neither Mr. Muhammadu Buhari nor his APC offered any remorseful apology to the Igbo natives over the killings under reference. Instead, political exclusion and ethnic cleansing were successfully plotted leading to massive denial of voting rights of the Igbo race.
As if all these were not enough, another round of warfare has been launched against the race. This time around, the warfare is clearly located at the doorstep of the Southwest political brigade popularly believed to be controlled by the Alahausa State Government House in Lagos State, which was recently elevated to Nigeria’s Presidency through highly ethno-religious divisive and scientifically rigged presidential poll.
This new round of warfare is called information propaganda warfare. In the past three days after the declaration of the Presidential Election results and announcement of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari of the APC as a winner, calls have been coming to us in torrents from the South-south and the Southeast natives who write or report for the print media dominated by the Southwest or Yoruba race. The referenced calls have it that the editors and newsroom managers and manageresses dominated by citizens of the Southwest origin have been on their necks tasking them to go all out to create and get widespread views watering down the recent collective electoral decisions of the two zones particularly the Southeast by way of creating large public image and propaganda to the effect that Southeast voters are politically naïve by voting massively against the APC; thereby losing the chance of producing Senate President or Speaker of the House of Reps.
The idea behind this latest new round of warfare against the Igbo Nation is to cause disaffection among the race and between the race and its South-south counterparts. It is also designed to cause massive political defections among the newly elected federal lawmakers from the Southeast zone for the purpose of threatening and undermining the collective electoral decisions of the peoples of the South-south and the Southeast zones. In other words, it is designed to truncate through undemocratic means the hallowed collective democratic ballots of the two peoples. It is further designed to stampede and coerce the electorates of the two zones into voting against their will and conscience in the State gubernatorial and legislative polls scheduled for 11th April 2015. The recent ranting of the likes of Mr. Rochas Okoroacha to that effect is a clear case in point. Part of the plot is to get the two geopolitical zones under reference to collapse their chosen political parties and join one party State so as to be offered leprous and spineless federal legislative leadership.
Like we said earlier, the newest concept of junta change of government in democratic process particularly in Nigeria is political defection particularly that involving elected officers. The massive rejection by hallowed and revered voters of the Southeast and the South-south zones of the APC and its presidential candidate in the referenced poll is a collective protest against systematic and widespread slaughtering of their peoples in the north and use of media by the Southwest to cover and encourage it. Any attempt to truncate the hallowed collective electoral decision under reference shall be resisted both tangibly and intangibly and both in short and long runs. The peoples of the Southeast and the South-south and their sacred electoral decisions must be left alone and intact.
It is factually indisputable that in the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan administration, the Southwest zone or the Yoruba race did not produce Senate Presidency or Speaker of the House of Reps, yet they survived. When they chose regional parties of AD and ACN, no ethnic group pressured them to collapse same so as to be given Senate Presidency or Federal House Speakership. It is very important to state here that the Igbo race is not politically naïve. Their collective electoral decision of 28th March 2015 is clearly an act of political bravery, protest, conscience and self determination.
For those given Igbo massacre posthumous electoral mandates, any of them that trade same off on the altar of cross-carpeting or defection will be crushed politically and by the spirits of their kinsmen that were barbarously murdered. Also we understand that there is a recent judgment of the Supreme Court outlawing defection by elected public office holders particularly federal and State lawmakers.
The referenced judgment was given not up to two weeks ago by a full panel of seven justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The judgment, which was also reported to be unanimous, followed defection from the Labour Party to defunct ACN (now APC) by Hon Sunday Abegunde of the Akure South/ North Federal Constituency in Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria. In May 2012, his seat was declared vacant by a Federal High Court and in September 2014, he lost at the appellate Court leading to his appeal at the Supreme Court, where he again lost. In view of this, political parties under which the recent federal lawmakers were elected are hereby called upon to take judicial and public notice of the referenced judgment and ensure swift recovery of electoral legislative seat from any elected lawmaker that defects to another party bearing electoral mandate obtained from his or her former political platform.
It is extremely important to let other federating partners in Nigeria know that the collective enfranchisement expressed recently by the peoples of the Southeast and the South-south geopolitical zones is their collective security that can never be tinkered and watered down through information warfare propaganda.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Barr Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program