- Rights group advocates for violence free elections in Ebonyi
- BY STANLEY AHUKANNA in Abakaliki•
The re-election of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State got a boost Friday as the governorship candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the state, Hon. Ozuma Peter stepped down for the incumbent governor ahead of the Match 9th 2019 governorship election.
The gesture came at the time a Human Rights Advocacy Organisation called for violence free elections in Ebonyi state.
Ozuma, who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Abakaliki said the national leadership of the party had also endorsed the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
He further explained that the national leadership of the party also gave the state chapters of the party the option of endorsing guber candidates of their choice, especially the ones whose performances in office were in line with the party’s ideologies.
He said after critical review of the governance of Ebonyi state under Governor Umahi, the state Executive Committee and other leaders of AD in the state unanimously adopted Umahi as their preferred choice in the forthcoming governorship election.
He said Umahi has performed excellently well especially in the infrastructure development of the state, adding that the governor’s performances have made everyone to identify with him.
Ozuma said Umahi’s re-election would take the state to the next level, which he noted was the wisdom behind their adoption of the governor.
He said his decision to step down for the governor was generally accepted by all members of AD in the State.
“If you look at his achievements, his developmental strides, you would agree with me that no one else can do better than him, hence my reason to step down,” he said.
Also speaking, the state Chairman of AD, Hon. John Ugbor, said the decision of the party’s guber candidate to step down for Umahi was a unanimous decision of the party, restating that the governor’s performance in office informed their decision.
Mr. J.C Okafor, the National Welfare Officer of the party who came from Enugu State to witness the adoption ceremony said the national leadership of the party was in support of the decision of her Ebonyi state chapter to adopt governor Umahi.
Okafor said, in all sincerity, Umahi has performed and deserved re-election.
He said AD was so impressed about Umahi’s performance and was desirous of getting him to join its fold after winning re-election so he could fly the party’s presidential flag in 2023.
Speaking during the advocacy match to Ebonyi Government House Abakaliki, the leader of the group and Senior Special Assistant to the state governor, Jacinta Nworie, said they were poised to sensitize the people against indulging in violence ahead of the elections because of the dangers such acts portends.
“We say no to election violence, we say no to election malpractice. This is not a political gathering, but a gathering that allows people to follow their conscience.
“Our mandate is to defend peoples rights, people should follow their minds, we took time to visit the 13LGAs of Ebonyi state to get peoples opinions about the present government. And we where told that this government has done well and deserves some kudos”, she said
Addressing the group, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Offor Okorie, appreciated them for making such a bold step.
Okorie assured the group that he would take their message to the governor, adding that the state government would ensure that the elections were free, fair and violence free.
He reiterated that the government would protect the people during the election irrespective of where they come from or political affiliations.
He urged them to vote for a leader that has the interest of the people at heart and as a human right organisation, they should stand on their rights.