From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Cross Rivers Governor Ben Ayade has said that only free and fair elections can guarantee national unity beyond the 2023 general elections
Governor Ayade, who spoke when new Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Cyril Omoregbe paid him a courtesy call at Government House in Calabar on Monday, cautioned electoral officers to be wary of desperate lobbyists and politicians so that they would not be compromised.
He said INEC has the moral obligation to be fair as politicians will always seek to lobby and subvert the will of the people.
According to the governor, if the outcome of an election is not free and fair, voters would feel they wasted their time and may not vote next time.
He restated his stand on indivisibility of the country, insisting that separation was not the solution to the country’s challenges.
‘I preach peace because even if you split this country and the South and North go their separate ways, the South will go with its own conflicts and the North will go with its own conflicts. The reality, therefore, is that the oneness of this country is the way to go,’ the governor stated.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Omorogbe assured that INEC was committed to free and fair elections and appealed to residents of the state who have attained voting age to ‘come out and register during the second quarter of the continuous voter registration exercise which begins on October 4, 2021, and ends on December 20, 2021.’
He urged Nigerians to assist the commission to eliminate electoral fraud in the system by identifying ineligible registrants on the list during the display of voters register.
The new REC disclosed that they would display of Preliminary Register in the 18 local government offices of the state.