The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has urged all Igbo people in every part of Nigeria, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to participate in the upcoming voter registration exercise.
Ohanaeze said it is important for every Igbo person to partake in the exercise to increase the representation of the nationality in government.
This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the group's General Secretary.
The group also urged MASSOB, IPOB members to be part of the upcoming voters screening exercise as this is likely to increase the chances of a future referendum, stating that 'it is only those with voter cards that will participate in the future referendum'.
Ohanaeze also noted that the group will push for diaspora voting privileges while warning against underage voting in the North.
The statement read, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen Nigeria's democracy by ensuring that there are new electoral laws that will be the bequest of his administration amidst unresolved insecurity challenges.
“Ndigbo residing in the 36 States of the country, must know the importance of the upcoming voter's registration exercise and must sacrifice their time and participate in others to increase our numeric stamina through Igbo's tremendous spread in 774 local government areas for 2023 and to sterilise southeastern Nigeria. We are not going to be discouraged by the manipulation of INEC's allotment of the least number of polling units to the South-East but capitalise on the Igbo presence in every 774 local government areas of Nigeria for electoral pursuits.
“Biafra Agitators, especially IPOB and MASSOB must see beyond their noses and mobilise our people for this voter registration exercise as there might be a future referendum, and it is only those with voter cards that will participate in the future referendum.
“This is the most crucial time for Ndigbo to get it right, especially we will explore the window of opportunity to support the idea of diaspora voter registrations and early voting being canvassed recently by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Diaspora voting privileges must be a focal point of the National Diaspora Commission as it will be a great legacy project that will outlast Buhari's government. Nigerians abroad have the right to take part in this electoral process, as Foreign Missions and Embassies must serve as centres for online voters' enrollment.
”This is the finest time for the Ndigbo including the youths that had never taken part in the voting exercise to register for the first time, especially those that would be 18 years old this year. And our target Igbo population is 18-29 years old (those Big Brother Naija zealous youths). We are warning that registration of underage children in the North should be resisted by INEC.”