The Nsukka Journalists Foundation has raised grave concern over the pervading atmosphere of violence in the Enugu North Zone of Enugu state, ahead of the March 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections in the State.
The foundation in a statement issued on Friday, signed by its Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ikechukwu, said it was worried that some of the political actors have taken no lesson from the examples laid down by the incumbent governor of Enugu State, Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who had preached and maintained peace throughout his tenure.
Describing as disheartening and regrettable and condemnable the incendiary comments by political actors, particularly contestants in the elections which can best be described as approaching the race with the mindset of “guerillas going to war with enemies.”
The foundation said, “With rumours of political actors stockpiling weapons and mobilising thugs from within and outside the state pervading the social media and the gossip mill, the NJF wishes to caution all political actors and their associates of the dangers in adopting violence and threats of violence in an election designed to help us elect credible and responsible leaders to pilot the affairs of our dear state.
“We are also worried that some of our political actors have taken no lesson from the examples laid down by the incumbent governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Dr Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, who has presided over the affairs of Enugu State for nearly eight years, with peace and brotherhood as his everyday mantra.
“We note that the Presidential and National Assembly elections, held on February 25, 2023, were largely peaceful and rancour-free, but we are worried that nearly all the conversations ahead of the March elections have moved from the expected campaign promises to the obnoxious language of harassment and intimidation of opponents.”
The group, however, reminded all political actors in the Nsukka cultural zone that they are united people, tied to common cultural and ancestral ethos that abhors violence and blood-letting of any kind. “Politics and politicking in Nsukka is a process of electing the best among us in the quest for a better society.
“This is why we call on all actors in the coming elections to eschew all forms of violence and threats of violence in thoughts, words and actions, and embrace the more noble and sportsmanlike attitude to electoral contests, in line with the peaceful and fatherly disposition of His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
“We also call on our amiable governor to seize this pre-election period to sue for peace and invite all players and stakeholders to emulate the examples of peaceful coexistence that he has long laid in the state, and which is the greatest legacy he has laid for those who would come behind him.”
They also said they are aware that all the political actors in the state are friends with the governor and will pay heed to his counsel, if and when he calls them to order in the interest of peace and brotherhood among the people, and for the sake of protecting his enduring legacy in having built a peaceful Enugu State.
They, therefore, called on past and present political, business and traditional leaders in the state to rise in condemnation of attempts and threats to unleash violence and crises in the state, particularly the Enugu North zone.
“Peaceful elections in Enugu, we believe, will benefit everybody and pave the way for stronger understanding and deeper brotherhood, which is what NJF and all other political, social and even religious groups in Enugu North and the entire state stands for.”