The Anglican Archbishop of Enugu, (Anglican Communion) Most Rev Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and political parties to provide a level playing field for a violent-free campaign in the 2023 election.
INEC, in its official timetable, had set September 28 as the commencement of election campaigns nationwide for the general elections.
Chukwuma made the call on Monday in Enugu when members of the Women Centre for Self-Empowerment and Development (WOCSED) paid him a visit on “How to Bring Lasting Peace to the South-East”.
According to him, election should never be a do-or-die affair but one where the individual is allowed to make his or her choice.
“People should be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise. People should be particular about the candidates, not the party.
“Everyone should vote with their conscience. If everyone is allowed to vote for their candidate there won’t be violence in the forthcoming election,” he said.
On the need for lasting peace in the South-East, the cleric said that the church had been sensitising the people to be security conscious, while admonishing youths not to get involved in illegal activities.
“The church will also continue to contribute through praying for peace. I am calling on all churches to mount both spiritual and physical surveillance,” he said.
Chukwuma urged security agencies and the government at all levels to re-strategize security nationwide.
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“Even as individuals and communities become more security conscious, there should be surveillance both on land and sea borders of the country to monitor what is coming in and what they are coming in with.”
Earlier, Executive Director of WOCSED, Mrs Onyeka Obi, said that the visit was meant to seek ways to reduce the spate of violence in the country, especially the South-East as it affects women the most.
According to Obi, women must be active agents of peace and the government must recognise women as key players and change agents of peace in every negotiations.
She said: “Women are the central caretakers of the families and everyone is affected when women are excluded from peace building.
“Therefore, the hour has come for the women from South-East to say no to all forms of sexual, domestic and communal violence.”
It would be recalled that the United Nations (UN) had set aside September 21 each year as International Peace Day.
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