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Ahead of next week’s gubernatorial election in Imo State, a civil society organization (CSO), the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center, (RULAAC) has expressed concerns about the upcoming polls, questioning the prospects of a fair and credible election.
The CSO also raised alarm over the recent attack on Joe Ajaero the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Imo State.
The Eastern Updates had on Wednesday reported that operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, on Wednesday, allegedly arrested Ajaero in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The organisation highlighted the need for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to wade into the situation and ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant stakeholders ensure a level playing field for all candidates participating in the election.
The call was made in a statement, signed by the Executive Director, RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, on Friday, in Abuja.
Nwanguma emphasized that any form of electoral malfeasance would not only undermine the credibility of the election but also deepen the prevailing sense of disillusionment and distrust among the citizens.
He urged security agencies to remain vigilant and ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of anyone found involved in illicit activities aimed at jeopardizing the election.
The statement reads: ‘There have been steady incidents of violence and repressive attacks on political opposition and critics of the government in Imo State under Mr. Hope Uzodinma.
‘The civic space in Imo State is constricted to civic engagement and political participation by all stakeholders and political interests in the state. Civil society, political opposition, and the media have been silenced through intimidation and violence.
‘If the police had credible reasons to arrest Ajaero, they did not need to have deployed such a level of unprovoked and unwarranted maximum violence and attack on his human dignity, as evidenced by witnesses’ accounts and video footage.
‘The abduction of the labor leader, his brutalisation to the point of now putting his life in danger, the dispossession of their personal belongings including cash, phones and other valuables are condemnable acts of tyranny, robbery, oppression and suppression of basic freedoms.
‘The Nigerian Labor Congress NLC and its allies in the labor movement must seek redress both in court as well as embark on appropriate political actions to protest this tyranny.
‘This disturbing state of affairs in Imo has grave implications for the forthcoming November gubernatorial election in the state. The voices of the people are not likely to count and the outcome appears determined.’
‘President Bola Tinubu has a duty to direct security agencies and INEC to play by the rules and to ensure that the Imo election is conducted in accordance with the electoral Act, the constitution and democratic principles.