Members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) have drawn the battle line between them and Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano – as a prelude to the 2017 gubernatorial election in the state.
IPOB members, who have vowed to stop the 2017 governorship election in the state, attacked Governor Obiano on Sunday and literally chased him out of St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia, in Aguata Local Government area of the state.
The IPOB confrontation with Obiano came barely 48 hours after they also attacked the burial ceremony of the father-in-law of the governorship candidate of the Progressive People’s Assembly (PPA) at Ihiala.
Governor Obiano, according to eye witnesses, attended a church service at Ekwulobia with the intention to garner acceptance. But Obiano had hard
ly settled down before scores of youths and women adorned in Biafra insignias, thronged the church shouting “No election! No election!”
The IPOB members continued chanting Biafra songs and ran over the entrance gate shouting, “No election in Anambra State; “we want referendum “, “No referendum, no election”.
Sensing danger, the governor’s security men barricaded the church entrance gate and locked it up.
A witness said: “As their (IPOB’) confrontation with the police continued, the IPOB numbers continued to enlarge. I think they were reinforcing from Onitsha. As their number continued to increase, the governor’s security had to smuggle him out of the church.”
But a member of the governor’s press crew who pleaded anonymity said the governor left after addressing the church at the end of the service.
“The governor was not smuggled out of the church. The issue was that the security men had to stop the agitators at the gate of the church when they started shouting ‘no election, no election’.
“The governor even addressed the issue while speaking to the congregation. He assured that there would be election in the state.”
“He said nobody can stop election in Anambra State; the governor said most of the anti- election protesters are not from Anambra State.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Anambra Police Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar, confirmed the incident.
The commissioner warned that the police would no longer tolerate such impunity.
He said the intension of the protesters was to attack the governor.
“You, press people should report this. We will no longer tolerate this impunity from anybody.”
“Why should they protest to the church? The church is a place of worship; and not a place of protest. It is obvious that they had criminal intention to attack the governor.”
“The police had to stop them at the gate. If they had dared my men, it would have been a different story. We can’t watch anybody breach public peace in this state. They should be warned to desist from this impunity” the CP stated.
About two weeks ago, a group of youths suspected to be members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra had reportedly disrupted a church function attended by the governorship candidate of the Progressives Peoples Alliance, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo.
The conflict happened at Odoekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state.
IPOB had severally maintained that it would not allow the November 18 poll in the state, unless the Federal Government allowed a referendum to determine a sovereign state for Biafra.