By Steve Oko
Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr Mustapha Mohamed Bala, has warned candidates for the 2023 polls to refrain from hate speech and destruction of opponent’s billboards during their campaigns.
The CP who gave the caution Tuesday in Umuahia during the signing of peace pact by governorship candidates of various political parties in the state, said that law enforcement agents would not hesitate to activate the law on anyone found engaging in activities capable of breaching the peace in the state.
He urged contestants and political stakeholders to comport themselves and political activities peaceably, and devoid of rancour and acrimony.
The police boss further urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to provide level play ground for all the candidates irrespective of their political parties.
“Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an umpire is expected to treat every player equal. Together, we shall achieve free, fair and credible general election come 2023. “
He assured the protection of lives and property of all citizens before, during and after the polls.
In a remark, the Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council IPAC, who doubles as Labour Party Chairman, Hon. Ceekay Igara, appealed to INEC and security agencies and other stakeholders to treat all parties equally to avoid rancour.
According to him, lack of justice makes political parties not to comply with the rules of the game.
” INEC and other stakeholders should be fair to all; there is no small or big party, all is equal because anybody could be anything.”
Speaking at the event, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu thanked the new CP and Heads of other security agencies for organizing the event and for their efforts towards the peaceful conduct of the 2023 elections in the state.
The Governor who was represented by his Commissioner for Documentation, Mr Ugochukwu Emezue, said that Abia had never been known for electoral violence.
He restated the commitment of his administration towards peaceful conduct of the forthcoming polls, while urging all contestants to play according to the rule of the game.
Gov. Ikpeazu further urged voters who registered but had not collected their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, to ensure they do so before the window provided by INEC.