On Thursday, the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers urged youths to refrain from being used as thugs before, during and after the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed by Lawrence Agubuzu, chairman of the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and chairman of the Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, and Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha and chairman of the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers.
It was also signed by Joseph Nwabeke, the Ezeamara of Eziama Ntigha and chairman of Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers; and E.C. Okeke, the Eze Udo II and chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers.
The statement said the rulers were privy to rumours circulating in the region that some elements wanted to unleash violence to disrupt the elections on March 18.
“The South-East Council of Traditional Rulers request as follows: That all the youths in the South-East are hereby requested to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections,” stated the Igbo rulers. “All the youth, whether indigenous or not, in the South-East, should not lend themselves as tools in the hands of political parties for the purpose of causing violence on the election day.”
They urged political parties to honour the peace accord they signed, ensuring “they do not recruit and arm thugs” to disrupt the elections.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be truly professional and impartial in the discharge of their duties before, during and after the elections. The law enforcement agencies should equally be professional and impartial to promptly and firmly stop or deal with those who try to commit electoral offences,” the rulers added.
They pointed out that the South-East had recently witnessed unnecessary violence and bloodshed due to insecurity.
“It is, therefore, the strongest desire of the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers that this forthcoming election should become free, fair, credible and violence-free,” said the Igbo rulers.
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