IPOB vows to resist rigging of Imo governorship poll

IPOB vows to resist rigging of Imo governorship poll

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has vowed to resist any attempt to rig the forthcoming governorship election in Imo State.

The election is slated for 11 November.

IPOB in a statement on Friday by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not “to throw the state into political crisis” by colluding with politicians to rig the exercise.

The separatist group said residents of the state were already “groaning in pains” and that it would be “suicidal for their wishes to be subverted” in the election by those who offer money or issue threats to officials to rig elections.

“If you can’t stand the threat and can’t say no to bribes to subvert the will of Imo people, you have the time to back off. But should you subvert the will of the people, be ready for the consequences,” it warned INEC officials organising the election.

The group said although “IPOB does not get involved” in elections in Nigeria, they would not “be silent and watch corrupt” officials “perpetuate evil” in the state and the South-east.

“IPOB members are not politicians and neither partisan, but we are against any political party or government that is toxic to our people,” the group said.

It also claimed that there were officials of the INEC allegedly “handpicked and drafted” to various local government areas of the state by the state government to rig the election in favour of the state governor, Hope Uzodinma.

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The group mentioned the names of the officials and their phone numbers and asked residents of the state to “watch out” for them during the poll.

It warned the officials to be “professional or back off” if they would not be “neutral and do their job honestly.”

“IPOB hereby advises willing voters in Imo State to go out and vote their preferred governorship candidate and defend their votes on the 11 November 2023 governorship election.

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“Anyone who compromises the election should be held accountable in whatever format available and the person will be pursued to his or her home for betraying Ndi Imo State,” it stated.

‘It’s false’

When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, Declan Emelumba, the commissioner for information in Imo State, denied the IPOB’s allegations against Governor Uzodinma.

“Absolutely false. No iota of truth whatsoever,” he wrote in a text message in response to enquiries on the allegations against the governor.

Oguwike Nwachukwu, the spokesperson to Governor Uzodinma, also dismissed the allegation when reached for comments.

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“Nonsense,” Mr Nwachukwu simply said in a text message.

IPOB, a group that is leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of South-south Nigeria, has been linked to some deadly attacks in the two regions.

But the group has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks which had led to the death of thousands of people, including government officials and security agencies.

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