Ebonyi State government says the vast majority of Ebonyians, who are persuaded by the dramatic and positive transformation of the state under governor David Umahi will lay down their lives in ensuring that the democratic will of the people to freely and transparently exercise their franchise in the forthcoming elections is not jeopardized under any guise.
The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, who doubles as the Director of Media and Publicity, Divine Mandate Campaign Organization, disclosed this while briefing journalists at Akanu Ibiam International Conference centre Abakaliki on Monday.
Onwe said the rumour making the rounds that members of the main opposition party in the state, APC, were boasting they would write the results of the forthcoming elections was the highest joke of the century as such would not be possible in Ebonyi State.
“On behalf of the vast majority of Ebonyians, the millions who are persuaded by the dramatic and positive transformation of this state, I pledge our lives to defend the democratic will of the people to freely and transparently exercise their democratic franchise during the forthcoming general elections.
“Rumours have their place in the heat of electioneering. Innuendoes, allegations and counter-allegations, threats and counter-threats, boasts and exaggerations, et cetera, et cetera.
“These are usually benign and form the stuff of which political banters are made. Often, they are designed to stir up confusion or panic in the opposing camp. But should these negative tactics ever become malevolent or hostile, they will be resisted with commensurate counter-measures”, he said.
He said the PDP was confident of winning the Governorship and other elections in the state.
“The Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State is fully confident of winning the gubernatorial election in the first round and on landslide proportions.
“Therefore, all members and supporters are urged to remain calm and go about their door-to-door canvassing without fear of molestation, or assault or intimidation.
“The Governor of Ebonyi State is the Chief Security Officer – he is the man in charge and he has the full measure of the protection of ALL law-abiding citizens.
He called on the people to resist any form of intimidation, unlawful arrest and attempt to manipulate the forthcoming elections in the state.
“As we go about our political quests according to the laws of the land, we must also be fully prepared to wage a lawful resistance against any form of intimidation or manipulation by any institution or group of individuals who may choose the criminal path of attempting to thwart the democratic process or overriding the will of the people.
“We will wage a lawful resistance of any attempt to fraudulently declare an unearned result through the aid of any institution. We will be guided in our actions by the constitution and laws of this republic!
“Governor Umahi’s commitment to the rapid structural and psychological transformation of this state is both historical and unquestionable. I will be the first to admit that there is no perfection in this world – infallibility is the exclusive preserve of God Almighty. However, to those who seek to only dwell on the imperfections, who prefer a different set of policy priorities, I happily invite them to debate their perspectives and alternative philosophy of governance; to place their preferred policies side by side the status quo and let the good people of Ebonyi State be the ultimate judge, as they are legitimately entitled to be through the constitution of the land. What cannot and will never be tolerated is the electoral heist being allegedly designed by some opposition elements in the state.
“If they try to fraudulently highjack the mandate of the people, they will simply create rivers of blood in the land because Ebonyians are democrats and their wish is to be afforded a peaceful and conducive environment in which to exercise their legitimate franchise.
“The political space in the state is open, free and accessible to all shades of political affiliations and opinions. And so it should be in a constitutional democracy. All contestants are free to exploit the freedom and liberty that abound in the political environment to mount their arguments and vision for the advancement of Ebonyi State, and to persuade the reasonable population of the state as to the superiority of their arguments and then let the people decide.
“Having said all of this, I am fundamentally persuaded that we are going to have a free, fair, transparent and credible general elections in Ebonyi State. We are prepared to give INEC and the security agencies the full benefit of the doubt. We will cooperate with them every step of the way and we expect civility, full respect for fundamental human rights and professionalism of the highest standards from them. And we are fully confident that they will rise to the occasion and make Nigerians proud, and put the prophets of doom to shame.
“And of course it must be stated that those whose ineptitude is of such a degree that they cannot even successfully organise a simple campaign rally without exploding in intra-factional violence cannot be credited with the capacity to organise, coordinate and execute a process of electoral fraud that would effectively override and nullify the electoral will of 1.4 million registered Ebonyi voters.
“In the event that an alternative universe would suddenly emerge where such a thing becomes possible in Ebonyi State, then late me categorically put it on record that I and those who join me in supporting Governor Umahi are prepared to not only vote for him but to ready and willing to die in defence of that democratic choice”, he said.