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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) says it has started printing ballot papers, with which a referendum would be conducted for the people of the South East to vote if to remain in Nigeria or secede.
The group said it plans to hold the referendum latter this year, and that it was determined to ensure that the exercise took place without violence.
A press release by the Media and Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr Emma powerful called on the people of the area to ignore rumours by sponsored individuals who have equated referendum to call for war, saying that both were different.
He said, “Efforts geared towards this first referendum is gathering unstoppable momentum with dates for the exercise to be announced soon. 40 million ballot papers are being printed and readied for distribution to every clan and village in Biafraland for all adults over the age of 18 to express their preference.
“For those that set out to mislead the populace by equating IPOB’s call for referendum as a call for war, in order to mask their betrayal of the people, will no doubt find another reason or excuse to object to this upcoming plebiscite.”
The group reminded that it would not be the first time a referendum was going to be held in the country, as it has been held previously, and did not amount to war either.
“It is worth reminding that on the 11th February 1961, Nigeria conducted a referendum for the people of Southern Cameroon to determine whether they wish to be part of Nigeria or merge with the Francophone northern Cameroon.
“This referendum resulted in the peaceful secession of the then NCNC controlled Anglophone Cameroon from Nigeria. In other words, they voted to leave Nigeria for good. That was democracy in action not war.
“No war was fought and no ethnic group was threatened with annihilation. If those parading themselves as leaders, with their much touted academic accomplishments, are not aware of this relatively modern history, then the pervading ignorance in Nigeria, occasioned by the spectacular collapse of the education system, is more generational than earlier thought.
“If those that claim to be the elite in the society cannot reference Southern Cameroons as a case where referendum resolved an intractable issue, then their supposed elitism is founded on pure fantasy.
“Again, on the 13th of July 1963, Nigeria conducted another referendum which led to the creation of the defunct Mid-west from the supposedly Yoruba dominated Western region. The old Mid-Western region comprised of parts of today’s Delta and Edo states. No war was fought, no ethnic group was threatened with extinction.
“Those that canvassed for a referendum then were not labeled war mongers. It speaks of the magnitude of prevailing ignorance in Nigeria that people are in this age unaware of the fact that referendum has been used in Nigeria before to resolve a seemingly intractable issue.”
The group, therefore, alerted that plans were at advanced stages in preparation for the first in its three-stage referendum process towards the peaceful, non-violent restoration of the nation of Biafra.
It said, “Our decision to hold the first of the three plebiscite later this year has vindicated IPOB’s resilience in sticking to the principles of non-violent agitation for Biafra, in the face of government brutality and treachery from enemies within.”
Through this age-long democratic process, IPOB said, it shall return power to the long suffering downtrodden masses, to enable them determine their destiny which it said was cruelly taken away by successive Nigerian governments.