Our Reporter, Abuja
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe has urged the people of the South-East to do all it takes to participate in the 2023 general election in spite of all the obstacles the system puts in front of them because the consequences of non-participation would be grave for the zone.
The immediate past Senate Minority Leader gave this advice Thursday as Keynote Speaker at the inaugural Ikengaonline monthly virtual town hall meeting.
The lawmaker who said that their (opposition senators) walking out of the Senate chamber yesterday showed that there are serious problems in the country. The senator said that with what is going on there is even doubt if elections would be conducted in 2023.
According to him, “It is not just insecurity, but everything seems to have fallen apart and when you raise these important matters, the government’s response has always been to accuse us of heightening tension.”
The lawmaker said the situation in the South-East is even worse and described it as “the denudation of civic life.” According to him, there are no industries working there to employ young people, plus the big elephant in the room, which is the incarceration of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Abaribe also questioned the direction in which the agitations in the South-East are going especially with the enforcement of the sit-at-home order by some miscreants which has disoriented the economy of the region.
He noted that the entire South-East has become a large swathe of ungoverned space with the governors literally abdicating their leadership responsibilities to the zone as the people appear to be on their own.
“In the past six months the South-East governors have not met to discuss what is going on in the region,” Abaribe said.
The senator noted the gross marginalisation of the entire South-East even in the finding of the solution to the problems facing the country.
“Take for instance, the meeting of the national security council that just held. There was only one person from the entire South-East, the minister of foreign affairs; and there is very little he can do or say.”
He said when you take all these problems facing the Igbo together, the only silver-lining for the South-East now is the emergence of Peter Obi as the Labour Party’s presidential candidate.
Senator Abaribe said that the emergence of Obi has reawakened the interests of Igbo youths and indeed young people across the country in the electoral process. And even that he said also comes with its complications.
“Atiku Abubakar has the the ticket of the PDP and nobody is calling it a Fulani ticket; Bola Tinubu has the APC ticket and nobody is calling it a Yoruba ticket; then Obi gets the Labour Party’s ticket and people are calling it Igbo ticket. And our youths are not taking it lightly,” Abaribe said.
He insisted that in spite of the hurdles, the people of the South-East must do all that is possible to participate in the election because the consequences of not doing so would be grave.
“Our people cannot say because we are marginalised or because they want their own thing they are looking for and refuse to be part of the election. If they do it, the consequences would be grave as these wrong people will take over the system again.
“We must participate no matter what.
“We must continue to let everybody know of the need to be involved in the political process. The new electoral act with INEC’s deployment of technology shows that election is becoming freer, making more people involved in the electoral process as seen in the Osun gubernatorial election.
“We need to continue to sensitize our people to get involved no matter what they are agitating for,” Abaribe advised.