From: Okey Sampson, Aba
Ahead of the coming election, Abia State chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has emphasized the need for more awareness to enable the people of the state make informed decision. Speaking at a one-day conference organized by the body ahead of the 2019 general election tagged “Towards evolving a sustainable and responsible leadership culture in Abia state”, Chairman of the Council, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere called on Abians to embrace the electoral process to ensure election of best candidates in the elections. Ehiemere said the conference was organized to help raise awareness and equip the citizenry with the know how to enable them participate actively in the forthcoming elections.
He urged the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to promote a level playing field that would allow citizens from all walks of life engage in decision making process in a sustainable and effective way free from political discrimination, intimidation and harassment.
According to him, “INEC should promote and build capacity of the Civil societies; sensitize and equip the electorate with a non-violent disposition and approach that will discourage them from being used as tools for political crimes and provide change in government without violence.”
The Abia Resident Electoral Commissioner, Joseph Ilo said out of over two million registered voters in Abia, over 500, 000 were yet to collect their PVCs.
Ilo who was represented by the Head, Department of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Achibie Godfrey Chigozie, assured of INEC’s preparedness and commitment to a free, fair and credible elections.
“We have been in the process of training our ad-hoc staff that will be used for the forthcoming elections. Last week, we trained the security agents, next week we will be on that of the Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding officers, to ensure that they are prepared and armed with the best information for the work ahead” he said.
Assistant Controller of Prisons in Abia State, Mr Mmadumere, urged the people to be civil and follow due process, stressing that the best every political party could do is to go to the grassroots and campaign effectively.
“Some of the people who are returning to the environment were people who were in prison for the past four years. When they come out they are abandoned but recruited again as thugs by politicians who have no interest of the people.
The conference was attended by organizations such as, the Nigerian Labour Congress, civil society organizations and interest groups.