Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr Mustapha Mohammed Bala, has warned trouble makers and political thugs to keep off from polling units in Abia at the forthcoming governorship and house of assembly elections.
The Commissioner who read the riot act on Wednesday at the Officers Mess Umuahia, during the signing of peace accord by governorship candidates of various parties, vowed to deal decisively with anyone engaging in any activity capable of disrupting the forthcoming polls.
He urged the candidates to maintain peace and restrain their supporters from every form of violence.
”We are peace makers and we are here for peace. Power belongs to God and he gives it to anyone he wants.
”Work harmoniously and support whoever that wins. Adopt the spirit of sportsmanship for the sake of peace.”
The police boss promised to provide conducive environment for the conduct of a credible poll.
Bala who noted that the postponement of the governorship poll would make for proper planning, urged the electoral umpire to be fair to all.
In a remark, the Administrative Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Clement Oha, re-assured of the preparedness of the commission to conduct a peaceful and credible poll in the state.
Oha who said that the presidential and national assembly elections in the state were peaceful, expressed optimism that the forthcoming ones would also be peaceful.
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He acknowledged some of the challenges observed in the previous elections, saying that the postponement of the election would enable INEC ” to get its act well”.
The Administrative Secretary further noted that the commission had embarked on fresher course to retool its adhoc staff for efficient service delivery.
In a remark, the State Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Mr Ceekay Igara, thanked security agencies in the state for organizing the peace pact, urging all stakeholders to embrace peace.
He, however, tasked INEC on neutrality and fairness to all, saying that injustice is a precursor to violence.
” If you are fair to everybody and provide a level playing ground for all parties, and nobody perceives injustice, nobody will think of violence “.
Igara who strongly condemned all form of violence urged all the candidates to advise their supporters on the need for peace.
Speaking on behalf of the candidates, the flag bearer of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, promised to abstain from every form of violence.
” Abia will be a reference point for peace”, he assured.
Some of the candidates present at the event were the Okey Ahiwe of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; his All Progressive Congress, APC, counterpart, Chief Ikechi Emenike; and Onyekwere Akym Uche (OAU), of the African Alliance, AA.
Others were Bishop Onuoha of ADC; Mascot Uzor Kalu of the Action Peoples Party, APP; Enyinnaya Nwafor of the Young Peoples Party.
Professor Greg Ibe of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, was represented by the Chairman of the party, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere; while the Chairman of the Labour Party, Igara, represented his candidate, Dr Alex Otti.