It is with deep sorrow that we continue to hear of deaths and destruction of lives and properties in Rivers State.
We at change monitor condemn vehemently this act and therefore call on the Rivers State Government and all stakeholders in the state legislature election to put their people first .
We should reflect on the effect of the insurgency in Northern Nigeria and prevent the proliferation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the future which isn’t healthy for our democracy, or else, we will have another group of IDPs to deal with and we can no longer accommodate such.
We hereby call on the federal government to wade into this issue as a matter of urgency. All security operatives should be used to halt this violence at once so as to have a peaceful election and not one that will ravage our nation forever.
Electoral violence is a key factor in voter apathy. Violence breeds no good. Your brethren may be the next victim. If democracy must thrive, violence must be done away with. Electoral violence will create a clog in the wheel of progress and development of both individual and community because the popular leader may not emerge.
Apart from the physical and psychological effects that election violence will unleash on the people, there is the political and financial implication. The leaders that emerge from such elections are not likely to be legitimate (accepted by all) and this makes mockery of our democracy and may also lead to leaders using force rather than having the cooperation of the people to secure obedience. It also ridicules the country in the committee of nations as other nations will see us as a bunch of fraudsters and power mongers.
The financial implication is the cost of election litigation and probably rerun election. We must not forget in a hurry that INEC announced recently that the commission needed #10 billion to conduct 80 rerun elections. The cost of conducting rerun elections is too expensive for our country to bear at this particular period as such money would have been channeled to more productive ventures.
We therefore call on the National Assembly to evolve a legislation that will criminalise electoral violence and other forms of electoral malpractices.
Finally, we wish to remind all the people of Rivers State that they must not allow themselves be used as weapons of violence or war; they should embrace peace in all their dealings and put this country and God above every other things.
Coordinator, Change Monitor