By Oginyi Ruth
In a bid to ensure violence-free polls in the forthcoming general elections, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Development & Integrity Intervention Goal (DIG) Foundation in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has held a brainstorming conference for relevant stakeholders in Ebonyi State.
The conference which was attended by several groups including persons living with disabilities was aimed to enlighten youths, women and media practitioners on how to achieve a smooth election on February 16th and March 2nd.
Speaking at the forum, INEC Residents Electoral Commissioner in the state, Professor Godswill Obioma, said it was the responsibility of all Nigerians to work towards a violence poll in the forthcoming elections in the state.
Obioma stated that it was not the duty of INEC alone to make the exercise free, fair and credible, adding that the people of the state including major stakeholders and CSOs should collaborate with the commission in the task ahead.
The INEC commissioner, represented by a legal officer from the commission, Barr. Ibrahim Obiahu, therefore urged participants to take the message to the grassroots to sensitise and enlighten their members on how to achieve violence-free polls.
Obioma warned politicians against making unguarded statement during campaign to avoid political tension in the state.
He added that the commission would continue to partnership relevant stakeholders including DIG to ensure that the state record a smooth and credible poll across the state.
In his remark, the State DIG Coordinator Mr. Ajah Chima Oliver and a Senior Programme Officer with the foundation, Mr. Anele Okoro observed that the inability of prospective voters to collect their PVC contribute to election tension.
The team however appealed to the stakeholders to sensitize women and people living with disabilities to shun voter apathy and come out on the Election Day, exercise their franchise and be wise not to sell their votes.
Correspondent reports that INEC’s Electoral Officers (EOs) from the four local government areas that made up Ebonyi North senatorial zone attended the forum said the number of uncollected PVC in the zone was alarming and urged voters to collect them.