By Douglas Okoro
A civil society organisation, Development and Integrity Goals (DIG) Foundation, has embarked on a road walk in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital to sensitise the electorate on the need to eschew violence during the general election.
Over 40 participants took part in the walk, which commenced at 7 a.m. on Friday from Onwe Road section of the capital city and terminated at the Ebonyi State Police Command Headquarters.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the walk was organised in partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and 2Baba Foundation.
The participants stopped at major motor parks and mass transit loading bays in Abakaliki and distributed election fliers.
The group appealed to the electorate to vote and not fight; stressing that voting is a civic responsibility and must be exercised with utmost responsibility.
The group also urged the electorate who has not obtained their voter cards to do so, before the end of set deadline.
Mr Oliver Aja, Executive Director of DIG, briefed the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ebonyi, Prof Godswill Obioma, when the group walked to the state headquarters, of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Aja said that the essence of the peaceful road walk, was to raise awareness on dangers of election violence and need for all to maintain peace during the elections.
He further urged the commission to live up to its mandate of conducting free, fair and credible elections.
He commended the commission for its effective partnership with the foundation and stressed the commitment of the group to complement INEC’s enlightenment programmes.
He said: “Charge your staff and ad-hoc staff to be professional and neutral, in the discharge of their responsibilities before, during and after the election day.
“Display openness and transparency in all your activities and in its relationship with all the stakeholders.
“Discipline any staff found to have betrayed public trust, during the Feb. 16 and March 2 general elections.
“Exhibit high patriotism by ensuring the sanctity of the ballot box and be sincere in handling election results at all levels by declaring rightful winners,“ he said.
Obioma, represented by Mr Cornelius Ali, of the Publicity Unit of the commission, reiterated commitment to peaceful, credible, fair and free elections.
He assured that all votes validly cast, would count while maintaining that the commission would adhere strictly to the mandate of conducting credible elections.
At the police headquarters, the group solicited the cooperation of the police for adequate security throughout the election periods.