Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "Massive rigging and violence, have raised serious alarm about the forthcoming Governorship and House of Assembly elections". This was stated by His Exc. Mgr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri (capital of the State of IMO, in the south of Nigeria), in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
In the elections of February 23, outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected Head of State. His main opponent, former Vice President and businessman, Atiku Abubakar, has however contested his victory and announced that he will appeal.
In his message, Bishop Obinna denounces the corruption of some electoral officials and cases of violence.
"Particularly worrisome - he writes - is the behaviour of incumbent government officials, electoral candidates and highly placed politicians who use official law enforcement personnel and political thugs to intimidate the electorate, legitimate electoral workers and certified observers".
The Archbishop recalls "the case of the FUTO Professor who served as the collation officer for the Orlu Senatorial election, and who confessed to have announced the results “under duress” is now well known to the Imo and Nigerian public and one other professor who served with a university colleague as collation officers in a Local Government Area in Imo State personally narrated how they “narrowly escaped with their lives” during the last elections".
"Given that the forthcoming elections on the 9th March may even evoke more desperate conduct by politicians from over seventy parties, we call upon the Imo electorate and the entire citizenry of Imo State to rise up to the patriotic challenge of making our elections free, fair and credible because of our long term commitment to good governance and democracy "says Mgr. Obinna, who concludes by launching an appeal to voters to go to the polls "to vote in candidates who are likely to serve our people and State with a sense of fairness and equity, peace and joy". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/3/2019)