By John Tega
Centre for the Vulnerable and the Under-privileged (Centrep), has called on Nigerians to eschew all forms of political violence, inducement and manipulations from desperate politicians ahead of the 2019 general polls.
This call was made through a press release signed by the Executive Director, Centrep, Oghenejabor Ikimi, Esq., made available to Oasis Magazine (OM).
The rights group said: “The attention of Centrep has been drawn to pockets of political violence nationwide between supporters of the two major rival political parties on one hand and the various forms of inducements and manipulations on the other hand by desperate politicians ahead of the 2019 general polls. We condemn same in no small measure as disturbing and alarming.
“It is on the basis of the above, we call on the Nigerian electorates nationwide to eschew all forms of political violence, inducements and manipulations from unscrupulous and desperate politicians by voting candidates of their choice during the February 16 Presidential and National Assembly general polls and the March 2 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly general polls, as same is the only panacea to electing credible and selfless leaders into public offices nationwide.
“It is however indeed sad to know that since independence, general elections nationwide have been plagued with political violence, vote buying and official manipulations by desperate politicians except for the annulled 1993 Presidential election that has been adjudged as the most peaceful, free and fair election in the history of general elections in Nigeria.
“It is even more sad to note that the forthcoming general polls may not be peaceful, free and fair after all, as many Nigerians are yet to receive their PVC (Permanent Voters Card) days to the Presidential and National Assembly polls. Taking Delta State as a case study, we submit that while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja claims that thousands of Deltans are yet to collect their PVCs, offices of INEC in the 25 Local Government Areas of the State are on a daily basis besieged by large numbers of determined Nigerians who are yet to receive their PVCs, but to no avail, as some of these registered voters often complain that they are made by some unscrupulous INEC officials to pay as much as a thousand naira to collect their PVCs.”
According to the group, “the 2019 general polls like every other general polls in the past may not be totally peaceful, free and fair after all said and done,” adding that Nigerians must shun all forms of political violence, inducements and official manipulations from desperate politicians before, during and after the 2019 general polls by bringing to the fore the excesses of unscrupulous politicians and INEC officials alike nationwide in a peaceful and orderly manner.