2019 elections: Ohanaeze entreats Nigerians to vote where they reside
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has cautioned Igbos and other Nigerians living in the 19 northern states not to travel to their states unless they originally registered there.
It said other Nigerians resident in different parts of the country should learn to vote in their places of residence, as a way of moving the country forward on the path of peace and development.
An extraordinary meeting of the Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA) last Thursday in Kaduna State, restrained Ndigbo living in the north from travelling home to vote in the coming elections, adding that it would fine those who flout the directive.
Reacting to the development, yesterday, Ohanaeze said it fully identified with IDA’s directive, as time had come for Ndigbo to begin to use their numerical strength to make electoral difference in their areas of residence.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, told The Guardian in Enugu that the decision was in Ndigbo’s overall interest, and should be embraced by every Igbo resident outside Igbo land.
He said: “The IDA is part of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. People should learn to stay and vote where they are. They should not just stay there and vote, but should also be able to contest in the elections as a way of adding value to the process.
“If you stay in your area of residence, you will be able to determine the political dynamics and participate effectively in the electoral process. It is a risk to continue to travel on our roads. When you are not there to vote, others will do the voting for you and in the end, they will throw up a leader that might not be acceptable to you.”
Ibegbu said the development gave credence to the kind of restructuring Ndigbo craved for the country, stressing that people voting and being voted for wherever they are during elections would give a sense of belonging and reduce agitations.
On the proposed fine to be imposed on those who might flout the travel ban order, Ibegbu said: “They have to convince the people on why they should stay back. They should convince them that their stay could make a difference in the process. They should convince them that Igbos are everywhere, and that with our numerical strength, we could change the situation in our environment. I believe the people will listen to them.”