hate speech
Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum Leaders
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Ahead of next year’s elections, the Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum, USDMPF has warned political parties, their candidates, and supporters against hate speech and other acts that could undermine the electoral process before the 2023 elections.

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The group, therefore, calls on political actors to respect the rule by promoting thematic campaigns.

The group also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, led by Mahmood Yakubu, for the numerous reforms it has adopted in the electoral body aimed at strengthening the nation’s democratic process.

In a press release issued by its chairman, Elder Ofonime Isong, on Friday, the Uyo Senate District Media Practitioners Forum said it was troubled and concerned about calls from what it described as malicious elements calling for the dismissal of the head of INEC because of the increasing pressure exerted by the same “rogue groups” on the electoral arbiter to remove the use of the bimodal voter

Accreditation System (BVAS) and the electronic transmission of results in the 2023 General elections.

Describing the action as distractions, the Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum have commended Prof. Mahmood and INEC for the introduction of BVAS during the Osun and Ekiti elections, which they noted has significantly improved the credibility of the elections, as according to the group, perennial problems associated with snatching of result sheets and changing of results at collation centres has been solved.

The USDMPF wants the success story of using BVAS and the electronic transmission of results replicated in the 2023 elections that would be held across the country.

The statement reads in parts; “Following the timetable issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the political season is here again in Nigeria and political parties have since commenced their usual and contingent activities towards a good outing in the February 2023 General elections”

“The Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum, USDMPF, consistent with our avowed objectives, among which was to ensure that we collaborate with like-minded organizations, NGOs, Civil Society Groups, and institutions of state to ensure the conduct of a free, fair and credible polls, as well as work to guarantee peace before, during and after the elections, have watched with keen interest the political developments in our country in general and Akwa Ibom State in particular and accordingly hereby make the following observations”

Also read: A Need For Issue-Based Campaigns in Akwa Ibom State

“We commend the Professor Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission for so far demonstrating neutrality in the conduct of her constitutionally prescribed duties and charge the commission and her agents to maintain this path to ensure the integrity of the exercise and that the votes of the people count”.

“That we are disturbed by calls from some mischievous Groups for the sack of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and the pressure on the electoral umpire to discard the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the electronic transmission of results in the 2023 General elections”.

“While we condemn in extreme terms such distractions we heartily commend Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and INEC for the introduction of BVAS in the Osun, Anambra, and Ekiti elections which has been able to improve the credibility of the elections, as perennial problems associated with snatching of result sheets and changing of results at collation centres has been solved. This should be replicated in the 2023 Polls and whatever grey areas observed in the test runs should be corrected”.

The group equally lauded the peace accord signed by the eighteen Political parties standing election for various elective positions in the forthcoming election, as put together by the National Peace Committee (NPC) co-chaired by form Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar ll; Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Bishop Hassan Kukah and other eminent statesmen with the objective of supporting efforts at ensuring free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria, and tasked candidates of the various Political parties and their supporters to ensure that the peace accord is honored to the letter, before, during, and after the election.

“We continue to demand issue-based campaigns devoid of ethnic jingoism, religious extremism, bigotry, hate speech, blackmail or public incitement of any kind just as we urge citizens to resist vote buying, thuggery or any attempt to manipulate them to commit any of the follies throughout the electioneering season”.

USDMPF also commended security agencies for their role in ensuring security and stability during the electioneering process and enjoined them to sustain the tempo by seeing to it that acts of thuggery, vote buying, and all forms of electoral malpractice are nipped in the bud.

The group particularly praised Governor Udom Emmanuel for his broad-minded agenda of political inclusion in the State, saying it is pleased with the Governor’s deliberate pursuit of peace, security, and stability in the State, noting that there was a need for the sustenance of the peace and development process beyond 2023.

Chairman of the group, Mr. Isong hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment towards a free, fair, and credible electoral process.

“The peaceful disposition of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the statewide advocacy for peace through the Maintain Peace Movement has no doubt created public awareness and mobilized the citizens and residents of the state to accept peace as the minimum prerequisite for growth and prosperity. We must consolidate this gain”.

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