Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Advocates of Good Leadership (AGL), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called on the youths of Enugu State to resist being used to perpetrate any form of violence before, during and after the March 11 Governorship/State Assembly Elections.
In a statement signed by the President of the organisation, Mr Chinedu Agada, it said that “elections will come and go but Enugu State will remain.”
Agada said that the call had become necessary following the worrisome surge of political violence in the hitherto peaceful state.
The group condemned the rising cases of violence as well as inflammatory statements by various political actors, capable of putting the state in flames during the elections.
The NGO said: “Granted the worrisome surge and aggravated wave of political violence rocking the political ecosystem in our own Enugu State, we describe the planned use of violence and the likely disruptions of the democratic process as highly condemnable and unacceptable.
“We equally condemn reckless utterances capable of inciting the youth against one another.
“As the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections are billed to hold this coming Saturday, being the 11th day of March, 2023, feelers from the camp of a certain political party in the state have hinted that there were plots to resort to violence and intimidation in a desperate bid to scuttle the will of the people and sabotage the electoral process.
“As Advocates of good leadership, we strongly condemn any act of violence, intimidation and harassment capable of derailing and threatening our nascent democracy.”
It advised those who were fanning the embers of inter-tribal crisis by describing the election as a “do or die affair,” to desist from making such inciting statements.
The statement said: “We emphasise the critical need for strict security measures to be put in place ahead of Saturday’s elections in order to prevent and proactively respond to any incidence of violence before, during and after the elections.
“In one fell swoop, we urge the youths to shun violence and avoid anything that will leave a bitter taste in our democratic experience.
“Anybody inducing you to indulge in electoral disruption cannot guarantee that you will come out of it alive, and in the likely event where you die in the process, the unscrupulous politicians who are pushing you into the valley of death for their selfish gains won’t take your family’s responsibilities.
“Don’t cut your life short for any politician! Don’t!”
According to the group, both the winners and losers of the coming elections will reconcile and sit on a round-table some day, while the unfortunate youths might be wasting away inside graves.
“At all cost, shun political violence! You might not be lucky this time! Your life is important to your family!
“If you can’t resist the temptation of monetary inducement, collect their money, but abscond for your dear life. After all, it’s your money,” the NGO said.
It called on Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to leave up to expectation by providing security before, during and after the polls.
“We are equally calling on Gov. Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Chief security officer of the state to douse the air of desperation heralding the forthcoming elections and allow and make room for a free flow of the process.
“Lately, we have seen upsurge in threats, attacks, intimidations molestations, harassments both on-line and off-line. This is totally reprehensible, unacceptable and highly condemnable.
“If the ugly and abysmal trend continues unabated, it will constitute a threat to national unity and democracy, and the leaders under whose purview such an ugly development is taking place won’t be absolved from any consequences of its probable metamorphic degeneration.
“While we urge the security agencies to act professionally, dispassionately and exercise maximum restraint at this sensitive time, we also enjoin all the political parties to sustain and abide by the precepts of the peace accord signed before the commencement of campaigns.
“Allow the people’s will to prevail; whoever wins is expected to absorb the vanquished into his government,” AGL said.