Fred Itua, Abuja
A few days to the conduct of the Ondo State governorship election, an NGO, SING Nigeria, has condemned the rising violence and money politics playing out in the State.
In a statement signed by its coordinator, Idris Usman, the group urged candidates of the various parties to present their manifesto, planned policies and reforms to the electorate, rather than resort to violence.
The statement reads:
‘Ondo election is just days away and the atmosphere in the state have become tensed with all forms of violent attacks in campaigns. It becomes bothersome that instead of presenting tenable manifestoes, policies on reforms needed and even positions on critical issues to the people, campaigns have been turned into a ground for a show of force by various contestants which have clearly affected the perceptible index of voters’ turnout negatively
‘SING Nigeria uses this medium to call on all security agencies to step up their vigilance and establish a more robust network to help track violence in elections and ensure that all potential threats are taken care of as Ondo State has a long line history of electoral violence. which is why adequate sensitization be engaged in these few days left before elections.
‘On the other, Money politics deserves beaming of searchlight as it is gradually creeping to the centre stage of our electioneering. More so that various forms of inducements vis-a-vis buying and selling of votes; thus SING Nigeria’s End Money Politics campaign seeks to address this issue by engaging critical stakeholders.
‘It is, however, imperative at this point to advice that electorates shun all electoral vices that might mar the integrity of the process. It is hence a testing ground for a paradigm shift in Ondo State as it has a history of electoral violence.
‘Politicians should also coordinate their campaigns in manners that conform with international best practices devoid of violence, hate speeches, threats to life and all other negative engagements that will spur unwanted actions.
‘Conclusively, government should provide an enabling environment for the voters to cast their votes and to ensure actual independence of INEC without any form of interference in the process.’