The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has announced plans to hold a referendum towards the ‘peaceful restoration’ of the defunct Republic of Biafra, as they have began to print ballot papers for the polls.
This was made known by IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, in a statement on Tuesday. Emma Powerful said the first phase of the ‘three-stage referendum’ would take place in 2018.
Although the IPOB spokesman did not disclose the date for the planned referendum, he revealed that, already, 40 million ballot papers were being printed for the exercise.
The statement said the ballot papers would be distributed to all adults in every clan and village in ‘Biafraland.’
The statement read in parts;
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra wish to bring to the attention of the world that plans are at advanced stages in preparation for the first in our three-stage referendum process towards the peaceful, non-violent restoration of the nation of Biafra.
“Our decision to hold the first of the three plebiscites later this year has vindicated IPOB’s resilience in sticking to the principle of non-violent agitation for Biafra in the face of government brutality and treachery from enemies within.
“Efforts geared towards this first referendum is gathering unstoppable momentum with dates for the exercise to be announced imminently.
“Forty 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.”
The secessionist group added that, through the referendum, it intends to “return power to the long-suffering, downtrodden masses, to enable them to determine their destiny which was cruelly taken away by successive Nigerian governments.”
IPOB said it would consult ‘widely’ towards the success of the referendum, and as well as all its future programmes.
In the statement entitled ‘Call for referendum is not call for war’, the pro-Biafra agitators noted that the Nigerian government had, in the past, conducted a referendum for some sections of the country.
“On 11th February, 1961, Nigeria conducted a referendum for the people of Southern Cameroon to determine whether they wished to be part of Nigeria or merge with 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.
“Again, on the 13th of July, 1963, Nigeria conducted another referendum which led to the creation of the defunct Mid-West Region from the supposedly Yoruba-dominated Western Region.
“The old Mid-Western Region comprised parts of today’s Delta and Edo states.
“Referendum has been used in Nigeria before to resolve a seemingly intractable issue,”