As major political parties commenced their electioneering campaigns ahead of the 2023 general elections, media practitioners in Akwa Ibom State, under the aegis of Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum, USDMPF, have threatened to call out any politician or political party involved in campaigns of violence, calumny or mudslinging.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo over the weekend, the Forum’s Chairman, Elder Ofonimeh Isong, flanked by the BOT Secretary, Revd Richard Peters, as well as other executive members urged politicians to focus on their blueprints and issues and not to attack persons or opponents.
Isong said the forum would deploy all available legal means to ensure that campaigns are done following electoral guidelines and peoples votes count at the polls.
The chairman, however, urged the people
to come out and vote, assuring them that their freely-cast votes would count even as he encouraged them not to sell their PVCs as it is the power they have to determine their future.
He noted that Akwa Ibom State has gone through a lot in the past elections and as the watch dogs of the society they would name and shame any politician found stockpiling arms to stoke violence in the state, which according to them, the governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel has made to remain peaceful.
According to the text, “It is our responsibility to ensure that campaigns are done following electoral guidelines. Going forward the USDMPF will not hesitate to call out any political party or candidate that goes in breach of all these cherished ideals.
“We continue to charge our people to reject any candidate of political party that yields to war mongering, violence and blackmail as a political tool rather than clearly defined blueprints to ensure national development and betterment of the lives of the citizenry.
“We continue to demand issue based campaigns devoid of ethnic jingoism and urge our citizens to resist vote buying, or any attempt to manipulate them to commit any of the aforelisted follies throughout the electioneering season.”
The forum also lauded the Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for neutrality in the discharge of duties and for the introduction of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, as well as electronic transmission of results.
They, however, tackled groups that called for the removal of the INEC boss and the suspension of use of electronic result transmission, saying that such groups were mischievous with intent of rigging the 2023 elections.
“While we condemn in very strong terms such distractions, we heartily commend Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and INEC for the introduction of BVAS in the Osun, Anambra and Ekiti elections which has been able to improve the credibility of the elections as perennial problems associated with snatching of result sheets and changing of results at collation centres had been solved.
“This should be replicated in the 2023 polls and whatever grey areas that was observed in the test runs should be corrected.” The Forum added.