Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, has warned politicians against election malpractices and violence.
Since the power of the people resides in their votes through the ballot box to choose their leaders, the governor said any politician that uses violence to scuttle the process, plots a coup against the people.
He gave the advice yesterday during a two-day stakeholders’ sensitization forum on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria in Uyo on the theme, “Ballot without bullets.”
Represented by Permanent Secretary, Budget Office, Mr. Nicholas Ekarika, the governor said that voting is civic obligation of all citizens which must be exercised without intimidation, violence and cohesion.
“The power of the people is their votes and he who takes away this power to choose from them is plotting a coup.
“Therefore, this civic obligation must obligatorily be exercised without intimidation, violence and cohesion. This is the concept of free and fair election,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to say ‘no’ to electoral thuggery; violence and to ensure that their votes count. He added that individual Nigerian votes only matter when election is free of violence.
Akpabio however declared that anyone who gets power without the consent of the citizens should not be allowed to rule over them because he will not care for their welfare.
He noted that the proliferation of arms and ammunition is the prime motivator of violence, conflict, insurgency, and insecurity in the country. He added that though these weapons have been outlawed, they are found in the hands of the outlaws.
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Atahiru Jega, stated that free and fair elections cannot be possible in an atmosphere of threat, intimidation and violence.
Represented by Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Austin Okojie, Jega said that the effect of stolen mandate often results in lack of legitimacy, insecurity, and instability.
He said, “We must do everything to discourage the proliferation and use of arms during the coming elections.”
Chairman, PRESCOM, Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe, who was represented by member, PRESCOM, Mr. Simon member of PRESCOM, said that the committee has commenced the process of amendment of the Firearms Act of 1959.
According to him, the organization has carried out extensive training for targeted personnel of security agencies in the country within its core areas.
“We have also commenced the process of carrying out a small arms survey with the aim of building a clearer picture of what the challenges are and also developing a national data base on SALWs,” he assured.
Source: Daily Independent