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Ensure Next Abia Gov Emerges via Credible, Transparent Poll, NUJ Urged INEC
Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abia State Council, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the next governor of the state emerges through a credible and transparent process.
The NUJ made the call in a seven-point communique issued at its monthly congress, saying that the March 18 poll has presented the electoral umpire an opportunity to redeem its image after “the show of shame” in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls.
The Council, in the communique signed by the chairman, Victor Ndukwe, and secretary, Adaeze Ralph-Igbokwe, specifically warned INEC against repeating its failure to transmit election results direct from the polling units as was the case on February 25.
Apparently reading the mood of the electorate following the outcome of the presidential election, the Council encouraged Abians and residents not to allow apathy to set in and prevent them from participating in the last round of the 2023 poll.
It therefore called on Abians and residents to come out en masse to cast their votes on March 18 in order to have a say in who becomes their governor and members of the next session of the state legislature.
According to the Council, the electorate “should not boycott the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly polls as a result of the less-than-satisfactory performance of INEC during the February 25, 2023 poll”.
“All stakeholders in the electoral process must back off from any form of sinister plan bordering on rigging, thuggery or bloodshed during the March 18 election,” the Council said.
It also advised political parties not to take advantage of the failure of INEC to transmit polling unit results by resorting to self – help or create an atmosphere that would precipitate violence and crisis that could put the lives of people in danger.
“All political parties in the state should remember the essence of the peace accord they signed prior to the elections and exercise restraint by allowing the will of the electorate to prevail,” it said.
On the present hardship and suffering being experienced by the masses following the currency redesign policy, the Council urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) “to issue an official, categorical statement” on the Supreme Court order on the recirculation of the N1,000 and N500 old notes.
It stated that an official a statement from the apex bank “will save Nigerians from the untold hardship occasioned by the currency redesign policy”.
The Abia NUJ urged the state government “to adhere strictly to the terms of agreement it reached lately with the organized labour with regards to defraying the arrears of salaries and pensions owed civil servants and pensioners in order to improve their welfare”.
It also called on the state and federal governments to find a lasting solution to address the lingering scarcity and hike in price of petroleum products and end the attendant “economic hardships inflicted on the masses”.