By Francis Onyeukwu
#TrackNigeria: The traditional ruler of Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke, has urged Nigerians to be of peaceful conduct during and after the forthcoming general elections.
Onyeneke made the call in Ekwulobia on Monday in Ekwulobia when officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission visited him.
He said that the 2019 general elections bestowed on the traditional institution and other stakeholders, the duty to preach the gospel of peace and national unity.
The traditional ruler said that the task before INEC in the forthcoming elections was huge with about 91 political parties in the contest.
“Because of this number of political parties, I know that it will not be easy conducting and releasing the results of the 2019 elections.
“My appeal is that traditional rulers, religious leaders and other community leaders should enlighten their people on the need to be peaceful while the process lasted,” he said.
Onyeneke commended INEC and the EU election mission for the visit,noting that “ today’s visit is my second opportunity to listen to INEC officials on their preparations for the 2019 polls.
“I was part of the INEC advocacy visit to the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council. Since then, we have been sensitising our people on the need to embrace the general elections in peace.” he said.
Earlier, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Anambra said that the visit was to collaborate with the community toward a peaceful and credible election.
Orji, who said that collection of Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs) would end on Feb.8, urged members of the community to collect theirs at the designated centres.
The REC said that there was need for critical stakeholders to join hands with INEC in enlightening the public on the need to be peaceful and patient during the elections.
“The results of 2015 Presidential election took up to Wednesday, after the election to announce the results, this time, INEC added 14 million voters in its register with 91 parties on the ballot paper.
“The duration for the release of results will be lengthy and we expect the people to understand before they start expressing worries,” he said.
Orji said that more than 25,000 persons had been recruited as ad-hoc staff for the conduct of 2019 elections in Anambra.
He further said that training of the ad-hoc staff was almost completed and appealed to Anambra people to believe in the assurance of INEC to conduct credible elections.
Mr Andrea Staeritz, Long Term Observer, EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, said the mandate of his group was only to monitor the elections.
He appealed to Nigerians to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner during the exercise.(NAN)