Threat Of Election Violence In Abia
ACCORDING to Agbazuere, he was allegedly parading men in military who he uses to display physical force, intimidate and harass law abiding Abians. Citing instances of the alleged intimidation and harassment, the Commissioner said that during his campaign rally at Umuacha Primary School, Amaise Ahaba, Isiala Ngwa South and Ariam Usaka in Ikwuano local government areas of the state, the candidate used his soldiers to block the road and denied citizens passage.
He said the state government was worried because the candidate, as a private man, was not empowered by law to have military personnel attached to him, adding that the authenticity of the men being paraded by the candidate was in serious doubt, which only the Army High Command could clear. The candidate’s camp on the hand has dismissed these allegations as cheap blackmail fabricated by government intended to cause public disaffection against him.
Obviously, the current development in the state is strange and worrisome. It calls for urgent attention by the leadership of the security agencies in the country before it gets out of hand. Even at the peak of the liberation struggle championed by Gov. Orji, the state did not witness or experience any violence despite threats by Orji’s predecessor then that he would make the state ungovernable for him. It may not be out of the place that the candidate and his supporters seem not to understand the elementary rudiment of democratic process and electioneering campaign.
While it is his right to have security protection as party governorship candidate, such security personnel and supporters should not be seen as tools for political violence. Besides, constitutionally, the state governor is the chief security officer of the state. Nobody should dare disrupt the security of the state under any circumstance because of its monumental implications and effects, especially in election period like this. One imagines what will become of the state if Gov. Orji and his PDP members decide to launch reprisal attack on the candidate and his supporters.
Truly, he is not the only governorship candidate in the state, but the question is; why is it that he and his supporters have always been in the news over alleged disruption of peace in the state? Does it mean that they have monopoly of violence or what? Even if the candidate is not in the knowhow of the violent activities of his supporters in the state, there is need for him, not only to caution them, but to speak out against their actions in public. He should realise that his governorship ambition cannot be achieved on the altar of violence.
It is axiomatic that if there is any group that should have monopoly of violence in the state, it is the PDP and its supporters who have the incumbent governor as its leader and chief security of the state. But neither the Governor, nor his party governorship candidate, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and party supporters have displayed any form of violence in the face of consistent provocations since the electioneering campaign commenced. It is not in Gov. Orji’s style of governance since he assumed office.
Gov. Orji’s government has shown in the last seven years plus that peace is very imperative for any society to thrive. The state has won several awards as the most peaceful state in the country under his watch. As many states are already boiling ahead of the polls, the Abia State government has managed to keep relative peace in the state; and this has been instrumental to the state’s monumental achievements in all sectors of economy, especially in the area of rural developments and human empowerment.
CONCLUDED • Omenegor, a system analyst wrote from Toronto Canada