Elections in Nigeria have never been the concern of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). But because of what Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari had planned to do with the last supplementary election in Bayelsa State, Biafrans took notice.
By the evening of Saturday, January 9, voting had ended in the supplementary election held in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (LGA) of Bayelsa State. The next day, Seriake Dickson, the sitting Governor of the state, was declared winner and given his certificate of return.
The Army and other arms of the Armed Forces, including the Police, were used to maintain security in the tension soaked and highly violent election (held in just one local government area). Soldiers and Police were kitted and armed to the teeth. They came into the local government area with sophisticated military hardware is if they were in a war front.
In the end, up to 17 people were reported killed and countless others sustained serious injuries. The election, surprisingly, had Niger-delta militants take sides with the political parties, and in the process, used in the mayhem that were visited on their own people and communities.
The election has come and gone, but the lessons learnt are huge.
One of the lessons is the revelation on why Buhari suddenly jettisoned his initial idea of discontinuing with the amnesty payment to militants. The amnesty was brokered by late president Umaru Yar’dua, the only educated Northerner to have held the position of Nigeria’s head of state. Others, including the current one (Buhari) have all been school dropouts. So when Buhari ascended the Presidency, which he obtained through intimidation, blackmail and terror by, both himself and his fellow Northern Nigerian political hawks, he gave notice of his intention to discontinue with the amnesty programme. In fact, he started the implementation of the discontinuation when he stopped the payment of school fees of militants studying abroad.
Now, the election has provided reliable evidences to support intelligence reports which indicated that Buhari plotted to use the Bayelsa supplementary election to test his plan on upstaging the Biafran struggle. It was discovered that the reason why he suddenly warmed up to the amnesty issue, was because of his plan to use the militants to destroy the Biafra struggle from within, as was the case between 1967 and 1970. His plan was to destroy the militants by first setting them up against themselves; to fight and cancel out themselves, then he would move in to wipe them out.
The Bayelsa election, provided a test case for the plan, and the militants fell for it as reports of how they battled themselves in support of either APC or PDP are rife in the streets of Bayelsa. It was not a surprise to people who knew of this plot that soldiers swarmed the state with military gunboats and all manner of sophisticated equipment, and that a prominent militant leader was their guide through the creeks.
Many Biafrans, especially those from Bayelsa are saddened that the militants fell for the Buhari trick. They think the militants acted foolishly and saw the necessity of reminding them of the case of Isaac Adaka Boro; how he was used against Biafra by Nigeria, and then murdered by the same Nigerians he helped.
Boro was Niger-delta’s most fiery militant leader of the 60s. He was the one that led the Nigerian military into the creeks of Biafraland, with hope that after the war his people would be granted independence. But Nigeria did not even afford him the opportunity to savour the victory he got them. They conspired and shot him from the back, and then went on to foist a most wicked, and exploitative regime that has continued to suck the resources of his fatherland dry up till today.
The people’s advice to the militants, as was gathered, was that the current time calls for clear thinking on their part. Bayelsans think the militants must strive to resist any attempt by Nigeria to pitch them against themselves.
For Buhari, the Bayelsa supplementary election was a launch-pad for his plan, which he hoped to enact in other Niger-delta (South-south) states where he already instigated elections to be re-conducted. Such states include Rivers, Cross River, and even Delta State. He hoped to finally pitch the Niger-delta (South-south) people and the South-east – all Biafran territories – against themselves, and his victory would be won.
Another sore issue Bayelsans were not happy about was the part played by their own son, Heineken Lokpobri, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development. Lokpobri was a PDP chieftain from Ekremor in Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State, who later defected to the APC in August last year. His people accuse him of also making himself available to be used by the enemies of his people to decimate his own people just for his own selfish political ends.
He was the one that requested for the military gunboats to be deployed to Ekermor. Investigation revealed that that since he defected to the APC from the PDP, he had been mistrusted by members of his new party who always doubted his loyalty. It was to prove his loyalty that he supervised the laying of siege on his own land and people for APC (the Moslem brotherhood party in Nigeria) to win election.
Feelers from Ekremor revealed that he has been branded a prodigal son by his people and as such ostracized.