Citizens and stakeholders in Anambra state have continued to respond to the denial of an imposition of a sit-at-home issued by the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Thursday.
The group had said it was only concerned about its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested in Kenya in June. He has pleaded not guilty to the seven amended accusations brought by the federal government against him.
In a statement, IPOB spokesman Emma Powerful claimed that if Kanu was not released unconditionally by November 4, Biafrans would engage in civil disobedience from November 5 to November 10, which coincides with the state’s gubernatorial election on November 6.
Some voters hailed the cancellation of the sit-in as a positive development because it would allow them to vote for the candidate of their choice, others contended that the last-minute announcement would have little impact on the situation on the ground, as many were already afraid of a break down of order.
As people ponder on how the threat will pan out with the restriction of movement from Friday midnight, for 24 hours, by police authorities, our correspondent Uche Ndeke observed that the streets of Awka, the state capital, were sparse with little economic operations on Friday, just hours after the IPOB reversed the sit-at-home order.
The transportation sector suffered a setback with very few automobiles and commuters on the roads,
The always-bustling UniZik temporary site crossroads in Awka was deserted, with only a few stores open.
Commercial banks were also closed, partially as a result of the Anambra state government declared a work-free day to allow workers to travel to their various locations to vote in the election.
While praising the group for listening to the voice of wisdom, Comrade Emma Ifesinachi, Vice President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, South East Zone, expressed concern that the earlier threat had instilled fear in the electorate, perhaps resulting in low attendance at the polls.
He did, however, urge the media to use this as an opportunity to educate and sensitize the public about the need to come out and vote for the candidate of their choice now that the ‘order’ has been lifted.
Professor and activist Dr Sam Amadi, former Aviation Minister Chief Osita Chidoka, and Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe had in an online discussion on Thursday contended that boycotting elections will undermine the IPOBs ability to elect leaders who share their vision and aspirations.
Mr Paul Okolo, an electorate expressed optimism that he would return to his hometown of Ogbunka to vote.
Meanwhile, security forces positioned themselves at the numerous entry points of the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the state, which is presently a beehive of activity.
Reporting by Uche Udeke; editing by Saadatu Albashir