Date Published: 03/24/11
Ebonyi Professional condemns thuggery, electoral violence
A group of professionals of Ebonyi State origin has condemned the spate of political thuggery and violence in the state in the build-up to the April general elections, even as it commended the state Government for organizing a seminar on the dangers of the ugly trend.
Addressing a Press Conference at Ebonyi Hotels, Abakaliki over the weekend; the Coordinator of Ebonyi Professionals Forum, Mr. Magnus Eze, regretted that the campaigns of the various political parties had been characterized by violence and sometimes bloodletting.
He noted that the political barometer of the state has been on the rise. Tension has been building up in the state; indicating that the elections proper may be marred by violence.
Already, there have been reported cases of violence in different parts of the state. Ikwo, Ohaozara, Afikpo North, Afikpo South, Ezza South and some other LGAs have been identified as violent-prone areas during the elections. At the national level, the state has been placed on the watch-list as one of the flash-points during the coming elections.
It could be recalled that a prominent indigene of the state was kidnapped in January, at Afikpo South shortly before the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries. As if that was not enough, three Development Centre Coordinators from Afikpo South were recently kidnapped. Unfortunately, a driver to one of them was said to have lost his life in the process.
Yet, the news emerging from the area is not palatable as we heard that another Development Centre Coordinator was kidnapped yesterday.
Any sane mind would be wondering what Ebonyi State is turning to. There have been violent clashes between supporters of opposing political parties in Ikwo and Ezza South LGAs. The virus reportedly spread to Ohaozara LGA on Thursday, March 17, 2011, when some hoodlums in Ugwulangwu, one of the communities in the LGA tried to disrupt the governorship campaign of Chief Martin Elechi of the PDP. The riotous group said to have been sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives who recently decamped from the PDP allegedly fired gunshots indiscriminately, injured some party supporters and destroyed billboards of the governor.
Dastardly activities of this nature are to say the least, despicable and condemnable.
We believe that violence, like an evil wind, brings nobody any good. The orgy of violence in the build-up to the general elections is not what Ebonyi deserves. As a poor, backward and rusty young state, Ebonyi deserves development. What Ebonyi needs is investor-friendly environment to attract investments and not crises. What Ebonyi really deserves now are those things that would bolster investors’ confidence; that would promote the image of the state.
The state needs a productive work-force; so our youths should desist from being used as tools for political thuggery. Above all, Ebonyi people deserve and must be allowed to exercise their inalienable right to determine who governs them. Thuggery, violence, blood-letting and intimidation do not turn to votes. The people’s mandate is final and the electorate should be allowed to cast their votes in the most peaceful atmosphere.
Political struggle should not be a ‘do-or-die affair’.
The Ebonyi Professional Forum, by this medium, condemns in very strong term the spate of violence creeping into our political landscape. We implore on the ‘combatants’ in the electoral process to as a matter of urgency sheathe their swords and become contestants; that they should be.
We also urge them to make their campaigns issue-based. Instead of unabashed name-calling, mudslinging, pouring invectives and using foul language on opponents; candidates for elections should be telling the electorate what they have to offer. They should be marketing themselves and not fomenting trouble.
Finally, we urge the security agencies to urgently rise to the occasion by arresting and prosecuting the hoodlums, mischief makers and their sponsors. The security agencies have a duty to ensure that the remaining campaign period is peaceful and the election period as well.
Anything short of this is not acceptable to Ebonyi people.
Ebonyi Professionals Forum