President Muhammadu Buhari has called for peaceful and orderly conduct in the federal and state legislative rerun elections in Rivers state on Saturday.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – the two major parties in the state – have vowed to match violence with violence in the election.
But Buhari said it should not be a do-or-die affair.
In a statement issued by Femi Adesina, his media aide, on Friday, the president urged all political parties, their candidates, other stakeholders and the people of the state to ensure that the polls are conducted without rigging, violence and intimidation of opponents and electoral officials.
He reminded politicians and their supporters in Rivers state to put the higher interest of the people of the state in mind, as they go to the polls on Saturday.
“The rerun elections should not be seen as a do-or-die affair to the extent that people will be killed, maimed and property destroyed in a mindless display of crude primitive instincts. Innocent blood should never be sacrificed on the altar of political contest for temporary power,” he warned.
While calling on security and law enforcement agencies to exhibit professionalism and non-partisanship in the discharge of their constitutional duties even in the face of extreme provocations, Buhari directed them to deal decisively with trouble-makers and those bent on violating the sanctity of the electoral process.
He also enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do all within its powers to give transparency and fairness to the electoral exercise in Rivers state.
The president restated the commitment of his administration to deepening democracy in the country by enthroning a legacy of respect for the wishes of the people through free, fair and credible elections devoid of intimidation and violence throughout the federation.