CISLAC advocates violent- free elections, calls for issue based campaigns
By Ikenna Orioha, Owerri
As the general elections draw closer, a Non- Governmental Organization, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has advocated violent – free elections in Imo State.
CISLAC made the clarion call, today, Thursday, through its Executive Director, Musa (Rafsanjani), while briefing Journalists at Star Arrival Hotel, in Owerri, Imo State’s capital.
Musa, who was represented at the Media briefing by the Program Manager of Democratic Governance (CISLAC), Okeke Anya, urged all relevant stakeholders, ranging from NGOs, the Security agencies and the political parties to abide by the Peace Pacts.
He stressed that political actions must always be in accordance with the spirit of the agreements, saying “other observatory stakeholders such as the media and the civil society should also play their role to ensure total compliance to the provisions of the Peace Accord.”
The group said it believed that the Peace Accord when signed, would bind various political parties in the State, as well as their candidates to “shun hate speech, peddling of fake news, political thuggery and other acts that unnecessarily heat up the polity and stoke electoral violence.
Continuing, he said: “The measure will help them focus on issue- based campaigns. Ultimately, the Peace Accord is expected to bind stakeholders to bear on their supporters and party agents the need to maintain peace throughout the election period and beyond”.
The NGO while observing with dismay, that Imo State has had its fair share of violence over the years, regretted that same was detrimental to social advancement and economic development,
- Furthermore, the group posited that “it is easier for the state and its people to thrive in peace than combatting chaos. Relationships with security agencies, as well as other peace structures in the state must be strengthened to allow for early warning and early response mechanisms to be effective”.
Moreso, CISLAC reflected that the state had a Bureau for Peace and Conflict Resolution established in 2011, but however, regretted that the “Bureau is yet to take ownership of coordinating the process to institutionalise the signing of Peace Accord in Imo State, as it is done by similar commissions in other states. Some of the key reasons for the Peace Pact include the need to build consensus among electoral stakeholders in the state, as well as bestowing confidence among the electorate”.
While calling for fair and peaceful polls, Manager, Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL), Lovelyn Agbo- Gabriel, appreciated relevant factors contributing to peaceful elections, adding, “and security agencies for their reassurance to all eligible voters that environments are safe for them to exercise their civic rights to vote”.