BY SULE TAHIR
Ahead of gubernatorial and state assembly polls, the ruling party APC has uncover various overt and covert threats to peaceful conduct of elections alleging PDP being the brain behind such a scenerio.
In a statement issued and signed by Hon. Danjuma Usman Shiddi, MP Southern Taraba Senatorial District Campaign Council viewed with concern on the Thick Veil of Violence Around Taraba’s Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections. It advise it’s supporter’s Let Reason Prevail Over Emotions and Exercise Restraint
Parts of the statement reads” we are concerned about the various overt and covert threats to credible elections including the increasing incidences of brazen violence, criminal intimidation and destruction of properties, hate speech and other divisive communication designed to amplify ethnic and religious differences in Taraba State; particularly in Wukari and environs.
Hon. Shiddi Usman was particularly concern on the brutal use of crude force in a manner only reminiscent of the Hobescean state of nature in Wukari, Taraba State. These acts of anarchy, mayhem, and barbarism perpetrated in the full glare of daytime in a political exercise that should ordinarily be a civil expression of the people’s popular will leaves much to be desired about what is awaits us on March 18 2023 if decisive security measures are not put in place against the perpetrators of these acts of in necessary uprisings.
He cited an example of the evidence-based reports of attacks on campaign trains, criminal and wilful vandalization of properties belonging to All Progressives Congress including the violent physical assault of those merely undertaking the tasks of driving, occupying and expressing their support for their preferred candidates in APC branded campaign vehicles in Wukari today the 7th day of March, 2023 is reprehensible and if not addressed legally, will embolden further violence.
Already there are rife concerns in the polity that the rising waves of these pre-election violence will deter voters and is an indirect form of voter intimidation. The situation, if it persists unaddressed, will posed a threat to unity and democracy in Taraba State.
As advocates for full citizen participation in the electoral process regardless of political affiliation, we fully align ourselves with the desire of well-meaning Tarabans in particular and Nigerians generally for free, fair, credible and verifiable elections and not violence in Taraba State.
We strongly call for implementation of Section 128(d) of the 2022 Electoral Act which clearly protects the rights of candidates and political parties to campaign without the threat of violence. This is so because elections is supposed to promote good governance and not mayhem. We therefore condemn the escalating violence and divisive rhetoric related to campaigns for the 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Taraba State.
The statement further drew the attention of Taraba state government and the security agencies that there are real and perceived major threats to 2023 Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections scheduled for March 18, 2023, which are: insecurity, mass disenfranchisement via intimidation, deliberate sabotage of INEC operations, campaigns by other political parties in perpetration of different format of election violence.
We are cautiously optimistic that INEC will be fully prepared for the 2023 General Elections in Taraba State and will deliver on the promises made to Tarabans (Nigerians). On this leg, our people must understand that INEC alone cannot ensure peaceful and rancour-free elections; as such, we call on all political leaders, actors and their agents to exercise restraint in the interest of our dear state, and hinge their campaigns on progressive ideas that are objective, balanced and promote unity. The energy employed in unleashing mayhem should go into debating and/or selling candidates’ programmes and policies not hurling insults or ridiculing each other, and criminal intimidation and destruction of properties belonging to the opposition especially which is completely repulsive and reprehensive.