The senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Southern Senatorial District seat of Cross River State, Prince Bassey Otu, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against compromise to avert violence and bloodshed.
Otu, who spoke with some reporters in Calabar, said he had to stress this against the background that his opponent in a rival political party had been boasting that in spite of whatever happens in the field, he was going to buy over the electoral umpire to announce the results in their favour.
He said, “This is why I believe you, the press, have a major role to play in this. Though we would make sure we man-mark everything around here, you have your role to play, which is to advise them to avoid compromise. Right now what we are hearing is that our opponent is boasting that they would use money to buy INEC and they would change results for them. You have to stress this so that INEC would know the dangers of that.
“There is need for them to allow sanity to reign because for any society to make some progress, they has to be some semblance of proper electoral process, if not we are going nowhere. As we get closer to the process, you must start hammering INEC straight because this time they would be putting their lives totally in danger. My fear is that in all baskets it is not all eggs that are bad. There would be few innocent ones who have no reason whatsoever to suffer what would befall them, but in a situation that there is calamity there has to be casualties, but we can only reduce the number by you advising them on time because my opponent is going about telling people, that he is not ready for any election on the ground, all he knows is that he would use his money on INEC and then prepare for court. This would not go down very well this time.”
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Speaking on the crisis within the APC in the state, Otu, who is the chairman of the peace and reconciliation committee of the party said, “It is true that we do have a little bit of problem in the party, but it is not such that can impede the process of moving forward, in every family there must be disagreements. We are in the process of trying to make sure that we settle all those issues. We put down a framework that by the time we finish the job, though we are little distracted because of the season of politics, by the time we settle down to our job, I believe APC is going to be one family.
“We would do very best that we can before the election proper. We have already started engaging some of the stakeholders and we feel except for those who are directly engaged in primaries now, which we would allow them to finish what they are doing, the moment they finish, we would also engage them. The sum total is that the issues are not such that they cannot be resolved. There would be a nexus at some point, because we are living in a society where there is law and order and as a party we do have guidelines. We have serious organs of the party do resolve issues like this. It is not out of place to find things like this, but I believe the most important thing is the belief in APC as a party moving forward. Nigeria at this stage needs a party like APC to continue so that the dividends that have started trickling in would be sustained.”