By Odo Ogenyi,Uyo
The Centre for Human Rights and Accountability Network, CHRAN, has expressed worry over alleged plans by political parties to use thugs to manipulate the upcoming gubenatorial and state assembly elections in Akwa Ibom.
State Director of CHRAN Mr Franklin Isong who made this known during a press conference in Uyo yesterday said such parties also planned to use real and fake security personnel from neighbouring states of Bayelsa, Abia and Rivers.
“Worrisome to us, is the fact that our intelligence network, however, reveals that some politicians in Akwa Ibom State are perfecting plots to import political thugs, as well as real and/or fake security personnel from neighboring states, particularly, Rivers, Abia and Bayelsa into the State with the intention to subvert the votes and wishes of the people during the Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections.
“We hereby call on the Nigeria Police and other law enforcement agencies to be on alert, and rise to the occasion of ensuring going the State remains peaceful while Akwa Ibom people go out en masse to elect the Governor and State House of Assembly Members of their choice come Saturday, 11th March, 2023.
“We urge the security agencies in the State to pay serious attention to our riverine and bordering communities before, during and after the elections.” Isong said.
While commending security agencies for their efforts so far in maintaining peace and order since the elections started, they however appealed to the governorship candidates and their supporters not to approach the forthcoming elections with the “do-or-die” spirit, but with the spirit of sportsmanship.
It however expressed dissapointment over INEC’s culpabitity and and complacency in the electoral fraud and malpractices witnessed in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“INEC was a contestant instead of being a non-partisan electoral umpire. INEC provided the platform for the politicians who carried out rigging in large scale and electoral fraud in the polls.
“We wish to call on the INEC in Akwa Ibom State to be neutral and non-partisan in the Governorship and State House of Assembly polls billed for 11th March, 2023.” He advised.