Few days ago, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commenced the nationwide continuous voter registration across the 774 Local Government Areas. This is not a good new for many people who feel betrayed from the previous elections. People are poorer today, education system is in tatters, health delivery system is in shambles, energy supply is nothing to write home about, civil servants and pensioners are owed for months, and many people have lost hope. Some people will think of registering to vote but then wonder: what is the point?

What is the point of voting when you are not given a genuine choice? What is the point of voting when your vote doesn't count? For many people it is another waste of time. And who can say they are wrong? 

For Biafra nationalists, the owl that sings at night has started singing again " boycott elections, we are not Nigerians. " Since yesterday, crowds of Biafra agitators have been protesting in Onitsha, Nkpo, and other parts of Biafra, chanting "no Biafra no elections! no Biafra no elections!"

Leaders of many pro-Biafra groups have ordered their followers not to participate in voters registration exercise. "There will be no elections in our land," they insisted. We have heard this in previous elections, what was the result? Bunch of political mafiosi have hijacked power and impoverished our people. Aba used to be one of the most important commercial cities in Africa. Today, abattoir is more decent than many parts of Aba. Do we wait until we restore Biafra sovereignty, before we begin to take care of our land?

How can we tackle the corrupt elite interests, and ensure that millions of our people can achieve their potential and live happy lives? How can we challenge the politicians to pay workers and pensioners living wages? How can we insure that we get the best medical facilities? These can't be achieved through apathy and resignation in electoral process. While we fight for our independence, we should also fight for better government in our states, and local government areas. Boycotting elections will not change the attitudes of corrupt politicians. In fact, it will even exacerbate corruption, because they will become immune to election defeats.

For many Biafra nationalists, who want to maintain clean skin, taking part in Nigeria politics represents the assimilation of Biafrans into the cosy corrupt Nigeria establishment. Which will either corrupt or destroy the agitation, but this is far from the truth. Biafrans are not the only people agitating for their independence; the people of Scotland, Quebec, Catalonia, Basque, and others are doing the same. Unfortunately, Biafrans are the only people that believe that street protests and litigations are enough to secure their independence.

The people of Crimea made the same mistake for decades, until 2001, when the nationalists formed a political party - United Russia. By 2012, they were already in control of all the electoral seats in their territory. Their elected members fixed a date for referendum, and invited UN to organise it. That was how they seceded from Ukraine. A blacksmith that want to learn how to construct ogene should gaze at the kite's tail.

Democracy is linked to sovereignty, food, jobs, security, health, education, infrastructure, portable water, trade, transportation and so on. Boycotting election is giving away your most viable weapon that will secure your future. We can't get Biafra from outside Nigeria politics, because Biafra is part of Nigeria politics. Those who are inside will make important decisions about our lives; recognise this as a fact of life. Alex Salmond, who led Scotland to the last failed referendum, is now a member of British parliament. Why should Biafra nationalists, who want to contest elections in Nigeria be tagged as saboteurs?

When the British government imposed fees of £9000.00 on undergraduates, the Scottish nationalists opposed it, and voted against it in Scottish parliament. This was made possible because Scottish nationalists got involved in British politics. Today, Scottish undergraduates pay nothing to attend universities, while their counterparts in England pay a whopping sum of £9000.00 yearly.

We should all wake up from political slumber. Ask yourself why Sen. Ike Nwachukwu, led our people to the last CONFAB? A man that joined Nigeria army to kill our people during the Biafra war. Why is it difficult for our state government to ban Fulani herdsmen from our states, despite the orgy of killings we have witnessed from them?  Don't you feel humiliated watching our governors go to Sokoto and Kano to prostrate before Sultan and Emir? These will continue unless we change our strategy. Let's use the next election as a democratic revolution against our oppressors.

We can't be complacent anymore; we have already paid heavy price. Only 37% of registered voters from South Eastern Nigeria, actually voted in the last general elections. If up to 70% had voted, the result would have been different, and lives would have been saved, not just lives of Biafran protesters, but the lives of Shia Moslems and others, killed by Buhari's administration. Nigeria dailies reported today that South East is at the bottom of the ongoing voter registration exercise. Sad news.

Anyone advising you not to register and vote in the next elections is working against your interest. Biafra restoration is closer today than anytime in our history. For the first time since the "end" of Biafra war, UN, AU, EU and powerful countries are taking Biafra independence agitation seriously, and have invited Biafra nationalists to conferences and discussions. We have seen the rapturous scenes of Biafra protests all over the world. Nigeria social media platforms are dominated by Biafra activism today. What is left is to translate this mass-movement into electoral victory, and take over our land. We shouldn't forget that mass movements live or die by a sense of their own momentum; now that this nascent mobilisation has reached the grassroots, our number one priority should be to take over power. If we haven't achieved this, we can't talk about referendum - Biaexit, Biafraexit, and so on. Fighting for a referendum when you haven't taken over power in your land is like struggling for a mat when you are not in control of the floor.

United Nations and other international bodies will never pay attention to any call for a referendum by unelected representatives of a people. Our governors, state house of assembly members, federal house of representative members, senators, LGA chairmen and councillors are our representatives in the eyes of the law. Those who believe otherwise delude themselves or others. It is when we control the electoral seats in our land that we can negotiate from a position of strength. 

If we control the states and local government areas in our land, we can pass pro-Biafra bills to law - adopt Biafra flag as the state flag, have Biafra police, like they have Hisbah in the Northern Nigeria, introduce Biafra history in schools, make 30th May a public holiday, etc.

The defeatist approach is to think that your vote will not count; don't let anyone deceive you that certain politicians will win, whether people vote for them or not. This is an old trick use by corrupt politicians and dictators to dissuade the masses from participating in politics.

Let us use this period to run the biggest voter registration drive we have ever held. Inactive in ballot boxes allow others to take us for granted and decide our future. This is why the ancient Greeks referred to those who didn't have interest in politics as "Idiotes" ( idiots ). Even the quality of air that you breathe is as a result of a political decision. Comrades, let us be masters of our future, please register and collect your PVC, that is your weapon. Encourage others to do the same.

Nnabuike Nnadede
A Biafran Nationalist
8th of May, 2017


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