Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Nsukka Journalists Foundation (NJF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has called on various political parties in Enugu State and their candidates to eschew violence ahead of the March 11, 2023 Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections in Enugu North zone.
The group said this against the backdrop of reports of threats of looming violence by some political actors ahead of the polls.
This was contained in a release by its public relations officer, Mr Emmanuel Ikechukwu, and made available to Journalists in Enugu.
“We cautioned all political actors and their associates against ‘adopting violence in an election designed to help us elect credible leaders to pilot the affairs of our dear state,” the statement said.
The foundation urged the stakeholders to concentrate on issue-based campaign rather than “the obnoxious languages of harassment and intimidation of opponents.”
The statement further read: “We remind all political actors in the entire Igbo Nsukka cultural zone that, we are a united people tied to common cultural and ancestral ethos that abhor violence and blood-letting.
“Politicking in Nsukka is a process of electing the best among us in the quest for a better society.
“This is why we call on all actors in the coming elections to eschew all forms of violence in thoughts, words and actions, and embrace the more noble and sportsmanly attitude to electoral contests.
“We are also worried that some of our political actors have taken no lesson from the examples laid by the incumbent governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, who has presided over the affairs of Enugu State for nearly eight (8) years, with peace and brotherhood as his everyday mantra.
“We have been hearing from the different major political divides, a lot of saber-rattling suggesting that many of the political actors, particularly contestants in the elections, are approaching the race with the mindset of guerrillas going to war with enemies.
“With rumours of political actors stockpiling weapons and mobilising thugs from within and outside the state pervading the social media and the gossip mill, the NJF wishes to caution all political actors and their associates of the dangers in adopting violence and threats of violence in an election designed to help us elect credible and responsible leaders to pilot the affairs of our dear state.”
However, the foundation maintained that they were aware that all the political actors in the state were all friends with the governor and will pay heed to his counsel if and when you call them to order, as we believe you will, in the interest of peace and brotherhood among the people, and for the sake of protecting your enduring legacy in having built a peaceful Enugu State,” the group said.
The foundation called on Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to use his good offices, “to sue for peace and invite all players and stakeholders to emulate the examples of peaceful coexistence that he has long laid in the state.”
NJF added, “We also call on past and present political, business and traditional leaders in the state to rise in condemnation of threats to unleash violence on the state, particularly Enugu North zone.
“Peaceful elections in Enugu will benefit everybody and pave the way for the stronger understanding and deeper brotherhood, which is what NJF and all other political, social and religious groups in Enugu North and the entire state stand for.”