Ikpeazu, Otti embrace during peace accord •Security operatives warn INEC staff

Posted by Agwu Okojogho, Umuahia | 25 April 2015 | 3,774 times

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Twenty-four hours to the supplementary elections in which about 176,000 voters will troop to 229 polling units across nine local governments in Abia, the leading contenders met and shook hands at a peace accord signing ceremony in Umuahia yesterday.

The hall of the Police Officers’ Mess lit up in smiles and admiration as Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) counterpart, Dr Alex Otti, engaged in warm handshake as their party faithful looked on.

The occasion was the signing of another peace accord by the governorship candidates to herald a peaceful exercise.  The first peace accord was signed by all the political parties before the commencement of the general elections.

Addressing the gathering, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Doma Dan Azumi, cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to allow its staff involved in the conduct of the exercise to move around without security escort .

Azumi said the measure was an anti-ballot snatching strategy geared towards protecting INEC staff and election materials.

He assured that adequate security arrangements had been put in place to ensure hitch- free exercise while all security agencies in the state were collaborating to provide water- tight security at all polling units and for all electoral officers, voters, observers and residents.

The DIG also advised INEC to ensure the poll was conducted early enough as only few  polling units were involved.

He assured voters of adequate security and warned parents and guardians not to allow their children or wards to be used as thugs to disrupt the poll or foment trouble as security agents would deal ruthlessly with anyone caught breaching the peace.

Warning Very Important Personalities of what awaits them if they were caught on the wrong side of the law, Azumi said:

“We will embarrass VIPs tomorrow. Any VIP that goes on convoy or armed orderlies will be disgraced and such orderlies will be promptly arrested and taken to the Force Headquarters for questioning. 

“Your orderly may follow you to the polling unit but not in uniform and must not be armed otherwise the orderly will be arrested.”

He also advised the contestants to concede defeat in good faith and be magnanimous in victory, and not to play politics of “do or die.”

In his remarks, the candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, the Reverend Obioma Onyeaghala, advised both PDP and APGA candidates not to allow their supporters plunge the state into crisis   but to accept the outcome of the exercise in good faith as “power comes from God.”

Also, the Comptroller of Prisons in the state, Mrs. Ukwuori Kalu, warned the candidates to rein in their supporters “because the prisons are already over congested, and we are not ready to take in more inmates as a result of electoral violence.”

Similarly, Col. Sunday Igbinomwanhia, who represented the Army, warned residents to respect the order on restriction of movement, saying that his men would ensure strict enforcement of the order until after the poll.

Ikpeazu and Otti promised to play the game by the rules.

•Photo shows Ikpeazu and Otti shaking hands while DIG Azumi watches.

Source: News Express

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