Igbo Town Unions Warn Security Agencies Against Partisanship in Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi Guber Polls
Tells INEC to Redeem Image With Off-Season Guber Polls on Nov 11
Security agencies in the states that will be having their governorship elections on Saturday have been advised not to allow themselves to be used by politicians for selfish purposes on the election day.
The Association of Igbo Town Unions, ASITU, gave the advice today(Friday) in a statement by its National President, Chief Emeka Diwe, sayung that the security agencies on duty in those states should not be partisan.
The group specifically warned security agents not to allow themselves to be used to subvert the electoral process during the November 11, 2023, governorship polls in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa.
It also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to use the three off-season governorship polls to redeem its image among Nigerians and the international community by conducting a free, fair and credible election.
ASITU urged security agents to work within the confines of their constitutional duty of protecting lives and properties, stressing that the activities of security personnel during elections have left bitter experiences in the psyche of Nigerians and the international community.
“Without mincing words, reports from Nigerians and members of the political parties themselves regarding the activities of security personnel during elections leave a sour taste in the mouth,” the group said.
It faulted the roles played by INEC and the security agencies during the last presidential election and previous elections in Imo State and other parts of the federation, noting that voters suffered intimidation.
ASITU stated that election results declared by the electoral body in the past polls hardly reflected the will of the people hence most Nigerians now see INEC as an interested party in every election.
According to the association, the electoral body lost credibility after it failed to keep its promises of organizing free, fair and credible elections in the country, even with the technological innovations in election management.
It, therefore, urged INEC to use the three governorship polls as an opportunity to maintain neutrality and prove to Nigerians and the international community that it can organize free, fair, credible and acceptable election.
With Imo as the only state in South East involved in the three governorship polls, ASITU expressed apprehension over the spate of violence that has enveloped the state and called for peaceful poll.
The statement reads in part: “We in ASITU have consistently re-echoed that we do not want the mindless killings and palpable fear that envelops Imo and other South East States to continue.
“While we call for complete cessation of this heinous behaviour, we urge Imo people to come out on Saturday, November 11, to cast their votes for candidates of their choice without fear or fear. We owe it a duty to make our states and Nigeria work.
“INEC has a big task to ensure that it redeems its image and cleanse itself of the very negative impression Nigerians and the international community have about it.
“It behooves on this electoral institution to maintain its neutrality and discharge its duty without fear or favour with the fear of God. The electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has a big task to ensure that it redeems its image and cleanses itself of the very negative impression Nigerians and the international community have about it.
“The role played by INEC in the last presidential election and other elections in Imo State and across Nigeria, rightly or wrongly, has made many Nigerians to see INEC as an interested party; hence INEC as a veritable institution must use this opportunity to prove Nigerians wrong. It behooves on this very important electoral institution to maintain its neutrality and discharge its duty without fear or favour, but with the fear of God.”
“As we draw close to the governorship election in Imo and other states in Nigeria, ASITU wishes to remind political parties and their members, that this staggered election presents another important opportunity for the political parties and their actors to redeem their bartered image associated with all forms of election malpractice and violence.
“It is our opinion that any process that will bring about quality and impeccable leadership, must not only be seen to be free and fair, but must be truly credible and acceptable. It is such credibility that will confer legitimacy on such leadership and make the people to sincerely own it. The people must be allowed to cast their votes freely without undue influence or inducement.”
ASITU further charged all political parties in the three governorship elections in the November 11, 2023, governorship election to eschew violence, ballot box stuffing and snatching, vote buying and other election irregularities that have become synonymous with political actors during elections in the country.