In anticipation of tomorrow’s gubernatorial election in Imo State, a coalition of traditional and religious leaders in the Southeast have issued a collective appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The umbrella body, known as the Southeast Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution, emphasizes the paramount importance of a free and fair election.
In a statement released by prominent figures including Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, Chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, Most Reverend Chibuzo Opoko, Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia, Igwe L.O.C. Agubuzu, Chairman of the Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, and Most Reverend Valerian Okeke, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, the group underscores the need for INEC to leverage both technological advancements and human capacity to execute an impeccable electoral process.
The council, expressing concerns about potential challenges to the integrity of the contest, specifically urges INEC to take measures preventing any form of tampering with election results. Emphasizing the significance of such precautions, the leaders believe this will not only minimize post-election disputes but also foster immediate public support for the declared winner.
Acknowledging the collective responsibility in ensuring an orderly, peaceful, and unifying election, the joint council calls upon not only INEC but also security agencies, the federal government, and the Imo State government to play their respective roles effectively. Additionally, the council appeals to the electorate to actively participate in the democratic process and maintain civic responsibility.
In light of potential security threats, the council urges security agencies to facilitate the peaceful movement of citizens exercising their civic duties. Furthermore, they emphasize the need to thwart any attempts by troublemakers to disrupt the electoral process or instigate attacks based on factors such as ethnicity, religion, or political affiliations.
The council specifically highlights reported instances of insecurity, violence, kidnapping for ransom, shedding of innocent blood, and attacks on public buildings, including uniformed officers, calling for heightened attention to address these concerns.
IMAGE: The Guardian