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The forum’s Chairman and former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who spoke on behalf of the forum, gave the warning on Tuesday in Abuja at a media conference.
He said voter apathy or boycotting the elections would be counterproductive and might give victory to a ‘unpopular’ candidate.
He also said that embracing dialogue would facilitate the peace process and restoration of normalcy in the South East and the country at large.
This is as he urged the Federal Government to immediately demilitarise the region and embrace dialogue with all stakeholders to resolve any security threat to Saturday’s election.
He also demanded the release of over 5000 Igbo youths arrested by security agencies on the suspicion of being members of the security arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He lamented that movement from one city to the other in Igboland had become a nightmare with several police and military checkpoints littered all over the place.
He said that people in the South-East no longer slept with two eyes closed, because of the unwarranted and sporadic gunshots, lamenting that nobody was willing to accept responsibility for the ugly development.
He urged political parties, their flagbearers and supporters to shun any activity that would prove inimical to a smooth conduct of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Ezeife said, ‘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, INEC, to conduct a free, fair and credible election scheduled for November 6, 2021 in Anambra State.
‘We, therefore call upon the Federal Government to demilitarise 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, Federal Government immediate release of over 5000 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 gun men, IPOB, ESN, among others, will facilitate peace process and restoration of normalcy in the South East. A political solution through the instrumentality of dialogue with all relevant stakeholders is key to the present security imbroglio 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.’
He added that the unprovoked military invasion of Izombe community in Oguta Local government of Imo State, where over 70 houses were said to had been destroyed by the enraged soldiers, and others in various parts of the state have aggravated the insecurity situation in the South East.
While saying that the Federal Government was 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.