Abia council poll: Political parties sign peace accord.... As ABSIEC boss raises alarm over threat to his life
Political parties participating in the December 21 Local Government!election in Abia State, Tuesday signed a peace accord, pledging to eschew violence and maintain law and order before, during and after the poll.
The accord which was signed at Aguiyi Ironsi Conference Centre Umuahia, with 10 political parties in attendance was mid-wifed and supervised by the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade.
This is as the Chairman of the Abia State Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC) Justice Igbozurike Akomas ( rtd), has raised alarm that his life is under threat.
Akomas who disclosed this while speaking at the forum said he had been receiving threats but averred that his life is firmly secure under God’s protective arm.
Although he failed to reveal the source of the threats, the ABSIEC boss warned those after his life to retrace their steps “because threat does not help anybody”.
His words: “My hands are clean so your threats will come to naught. I have been open to everybody; I have accommodated everybody; I have even gone out of my way to do certain things that people say my predecessor wouldn’t have done just because we are all brothers”.
He advised political parties who still have issues to resolve their differences internally, assuring a level play ground for all parties in the contest.
The ABSIEC boss who also said the electoral body had received two court suits (one from Abuja High Court and the other from an Abia High Court) regretted that some persons were bent on frustrating the proposed poll.
Cautioning against the far -reaching consequences of scuttling the council poll which was last held 2008 in the state, Akomas said “if for any reason anybody stops this election, it is Abians that will suffer “.
Akomas who said ABSIEC had been through with the screening of candidates for the election added that the list of successful candidates would be pasted in all 17 council headquarters in the state by Wednesday.
The ABSIEC boss who also said the commission was fully prepared for the poll added that political parties had up to Thursday to substitute their candidates where necessary.
He further disclosed that only 10 political parties submitted their logos for inclusion in the ballot papers on time, explaining that the commission’s unwillingness to accommodate late comers was because of the huge cost implications of reprinting the ballot papers.
He assured all the parties of free, fair and credible poll while soliciting the cooperation of the parties for a successful exercise.
“Jettison the preconceived idea that results are going to be written”, he said, while however advising every participating political party to ensure it has a responsible agent at every polling unit.
Speaking at the event, Commissioner of Police, Oyebade promised that police in synergy with other security agencies would provide adequate security for the exercise.
He warned all participants and their supporters to abide by the law and letters of the peace accord as anybody caught fomenting trouble will be ruthlessly dealt with.
“Everybody should follow the rule of law and not to engage in violence,” he warned, while assuring that “ there will be no illegal policeman at the polling units”.
In his remarks, Chairman of the state’s chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council ( IPAC), Prince Emeka Okafor, accused ABSIEC of not carrying the political parties along but promised to work for the success of the poll in the interest of the state.
Participating journalists at the forum also accused ABSIEC of leaving the media in the dark concerning its arrangements for the election, protesting that as critical stakeholders, the media deserve to be carried along.