The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday restated its commitment to peaceful and credible 2019 general elections in Ebonyi.
The state’s Chairman of the party, Mr Eze Nwachukwu, who gave the assurance while addressing journalists in Abakaliki, therefore, appealed to groups and individuals preaching violence and war ahead of the elections to have a rethink.
Nwachukwu insisted that APC would abide by extant laws, rules and regulations guiding peaceful conduct of elections in the country.
He said that the party had at a stakeholders meeting on Friday, reviewed its preparedness for the forthcoming general elections and seen the need to make its position known especially in view of unsavoury comments allegedly made by some politicians in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The state governor, David Umahi, had said that he was ready for the political intrigues that would herald the battle for elective positions in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He said this on Monday while addressing stakeholders of Afikpo North and Ezza South, who paid him a Christmas visit at his country home in Uburu.
In his remarks, he vowed to ensure the re-election of the state and federal lawmakers from Afikpo North and Ezza South Local Government Area of the state.
Umahi had said that there was no vacancy in the state House of Assembly and National Assembly positions in both councils, and that those aspiring for the positions should wait for 2023.
“I am a man of war and ready to war in ensuring that the present occupiers of the positions are re-elected in 2019.
“We all came together on the platform of divine mandate and would complete the mandates together.
“When we all finish our tenures, I will force the present occupiers to vacate the seats to ensure that other aspirants realise their ambitions,’’ Umahi said.
Nwachukwu described the governor’s threat as an indication of acceptance of defeat.
“Gov. Umahi, while addressing stakeholders of Afikpo North and Ezza South, who paid him a Christmas visit at his country home in Uburu, declared himself as a man of war and ready to fight for his re-election in 2019.
“For us in APC, such comments are un-dignifying and unwarranted especially coming from a man occupying the exalted office of Governor.
“Election is neither a war nor a do-or-die affair. It is a free contest that is only decided by the electorate through the ballot hence it is not an act or war.
“Our questions then are: who is fighting who and who is warring against, who since it must take two to fight or to get involved in a war,’’ Nwachukwu said.
“The Governor knows that he has been technically defeated and that is why he wants to threaten and intimidate.’’
Nwachukwu stated that as the largest opposition party in the state, APC believes that power resides with the people and that such power is exercised through their free franchise.
He said that the party would rather seek the votes of the people than preach war.
“For us in the opposition, ours is to mobilize the electorate, canvass for their votes and support and to urge them to actively participate in the electoral process through sustained sensitisation.
“We are letting residents know that we are ready and set to take over power not by hook or crook, but by the laid down legal procedure that enhances peaceful and credible elections.
“We in APC subscribe to the laws of the land and this includes those laws and guidelines regulating conduct of behaviour during elections because in Nigeria there are laws guiding actions and behaviour and our actions,” Nwachukwu added.
He, therefore, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be vigilant and to apply strict sanctions against any political party or candidate for the elections that violates the electoral law or INEC guidelines.