The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom State has observed the growing trend among political parties in the state to dwell so much on violent pronouncements that tend to heat up the polity, which if not checked, could ignite avoidable carnage in the state as we approach the 2019 general elections.
As a responsible civil society organisation, the CLO is committed to ensuring that the rights of the Nigerian people resident in the state, to participate in political activities, including their right to vote, their right to attend political rallies and their right to choose among competing candidates who to vote for, are respected and guaranteed.
We note that these rights are capable of being stymied by a descent to anarchy and violence, which are concomitant outcomes of the raging vicious verbal and physical attacks so far being perpetrated by politicians and their supporters in the state.
We therefore, advise and caution politicians especially, those in the two major political parties in the state, to wit; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as follows:
That electioneering campaigns are the tools that parties and their candidates use to convince voters to vote one way or the other. As such, parties and their candidates must dwell on the issues that currently agitate the minds of the people of Akwa Ibom State. The parties should tell the people what they intend to do to pull them out of poverty and ignorance. They should tell the people what programmes they have and how they intend to use such programmes to develop the state and make life better for the people.
Parties and their candidates must campaign with decorum and respect for the rights of those with opposing views to be expressed without harassment and intimidation.
Politicians must ensure that violent languages, hate speeches and utterances capable of inciting violence are eschewed. Politicians must use temperate languages aimed at convincing, rather than intimidating to submission.
The pulling down, destruction and/or defacing of electioneering campaign billboards noticeable in the recent times, must stop. No party should encourage its members to resort to such barbaric actions, such as; dismantling of billboards and destruction of other campaign materials in the state.
We urge party leaders to join hands with security agencies to ensure a smooth, peaceful, transparent, and violence-free 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom State.
On our part, the CLO is committed to the preservation and protection of the human and civic rights of the citizenry and we shall rise in defence of the peoples’ rights.
Election is a time to vote and not a time to cause mayhem, breach of peace and violation of rights of citizens of the Nigerian state.
Let the people exercise their franchise of electing their leaders in the forthcoming 2019 elections in the state.
Comrade (Otuekong) Franklyn Isong
Chairman, Akwa Ibom State CLO
Comrade (Barr) David Augustine
October 25, 2018.