Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi and his younger brother, Austin Umahi, who is the campaign director general of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have accused the Nigerian Police and other security agencies of compromise in the just concluded presidential and national assembly elections.
Umahi and his brother, Austin, also cautioned political leaders, especially the Ebonyi South senatorial candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Linus Okorie, against making inflammatory statements capable of causing crisis and unrest among youths in the state.
The brothers made this known while briefing newsmen in Abakaliki at separate venues: Governor’s Lodge, Ochudo Centenary City, and the APC campaign office.
Gov. Umahi said that some security officers allegedly connived with desperate politicians to intimidate and harass teeming supporters of the APC, especially in Onicha LGA, during the last general elections in the state.
He said: “Let me appeal to the political leaders and candidates to stop making inciting statements, to stop inciting the people [and] importing thugs to start demonstrations.
“We know those who are doing this, and the state will hold them responsible." This time around, if you have problems with the elections, just like I have in some polling units in the South, North, and Central, what we have done is compile the polling units and make our reports to the security agencies and INEC, not taking the law into our hands or inciting people to begin demonstrations.
He said further: “Every political leader should exercise some restraints because if you [light] a fire, you wouldn’t know how far the fire will go. There is also a provision in the Electoral Act which states that results will be reviewed by the INEC; the security agencies and the court are [also] there. There are a lot of legitimate means to lay our complaints [rather] than inciting our people to begin demonstrations which may lead them into killings and chaos.”
Umahi also tasked the security agencies in Ebonyi with maintaining the highest sense of neutrality in partisan politics, especially as the state waits for the March 11 polls.
Umahi, who is the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, urged the people in the region and other parts of the country to remain calm, as he had reached out to the relevant leaders to ensure the security of lives and property.
“Let me assure the people of the South East zone that we, the Governors of the South East have spoken and that we urge everyone living within the South East region to go about their normal businesses while allowing the umpires to sort out what may be grievances of the parties,” he said.
Umahi added: “Be assured that I have reached out as the Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum, and I have been assured by the police that our people are safe." I will continue to monitor and be in touch with the security chiefs at both the national and state levels.
The governor also condemned the murder of the chairman of the Ezza Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Igboke Ewa, by suspected hoodlums in the state.
He directed security agencies in the state to move into Ezza North, noting that the monarch was reportedly shot dead by suspected political thugs for not supporting a particular political party.