…Take Stand with Gov Emmanuel
By Ekemini Simon
As preparations towards March 9th gubernatorial and House of Assembly election gathers momentum, the leaders of Socio-Cultural organizations in Akwa Ibom State have called on electorates in the State not to be intimidated from exercising their franchise owing to the presence of heavy security personnel.
The organizations which made the call includes Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, Ati Annang, Oron Union, Esu Nlap Oro, Afi Iwaad Ekid, Nkpadiak Obolo, Ibom Patriots, and Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly.
In a joint press conference held in Uyo today, they noted that the massive deployment of members of the Armed Forces to Akwa Ibom State gives indication of what they described as militarization of the electoral process since it will cause fear and tension in the minds of the people, hence cause voters apathy.
In a Statement read on behalf of the organizations, the Chancellor of Ibom Patriots, Obong Bassey Inuaeyen noted that despite the situation, it will be in the interest of the people not to allow such presence intimate them, rather the electorates should be bold, conduct themselves orderly and elect persons of their choice.
Inuaeyen said that it is the appeal of the organizations that the intention of the heavy military presence should be geared towards the promotion of basic democratic ideals.
He added ” We completely associate ourselves with the declaration made by our religious fathers of faith, the Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, Nigeria Labour Congress and other major stakeholders on the need to maintain the prevailing peace and stability in the State to ensure free, fair, credible and acceptable election.
“We therefore call on the Federal Government and the security agencies to be alive to the responsibilities of securing the people to guarantee effective participation in the democratic process, particularly as it affect the forthcoming Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State.”
On their choice of candidacy in the gubernatorial election, the organizations noted that having appraised and seen as satisfactory the performance of Governor Udom Emmanuel since he assumed office in 2015, the organizations have decided to endorse him for a second term in office.
They pointed out that they have observed with delight the fact that Governor Udom Emmanuel has worked hard to keep the State economically stable all through the period of economic challenges that bedeviled the nation.
The organizations insisted that such performance, coupled with his capacity in attracting industries to the State is worth being encouraged for the overall benefit of the State.
While stating that they admire Governor Emmanuel’s disposition in ensuring peaceful co-existence in Akwa Ibom State, they added ” We sincerely believe that no society can enjoy growth and development without properly ensuring the security of life and property, therefore, we have decided to stand by the Governor to continue with the effort of sustaining peace that Akwa Ibom State is generally known for.
” That Akwa Ibom State has a culture that upholds peace and respect for the sanctity of human life and that must at all cost be sustained. That any political action(s) that does not promote the socio-cultural values of the Akwa Ibom people will not be accepted.”
The organizations warned political parties and major players in the politics of Akwa Ibom State to avoid the temptation of breaching the peace of the State or attempt to create an atmosphere that may unsettle the existence of the component parts of the State in the name of politics.
They condemned in strong terms the politics of intimidation and use of thugs to perpetuate what they termed as unholy behaviour that is inimical to the growth and corporate existence of the State.