By Eno-Obong Okon, Uyo.
The Akwa Ibom State governor, Dr. Godswill Akpabio has said that anyone who plans to take away the people’s power through violence is planning a coup.
Akpabio, who made this known in Uyo Tuesday at a stakeholder?s forum, organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said the power of the people was their votes and anyone who took away that power did not mean well for the country.
According to him, peaceful elections in Nigeria required the collective contribution of all Nigerians, adding that citizens must say no to electoral thuggery and ensure that every vote counted.
“We must say no to electoral thuggery, we must say no to electoral violence and we must ensure that our votes count. This can only be achieved through peaceful elections, which is the beauty of democracy.”
Akpabio stated that whoever seized power through violence would have to defend the power by same means, and emphasised that anyone who got power without the consent of the people would not need their consent to govern and so would not care for the people.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr. Austin Okojie, at the forum told the stakeholders that INEC in the state had taken delivery of 3,813 card readers to be distributed to all polling units in the state.
He said the number received was not enough and the commission was still expecting more card readers to complement the number of polling units in the state.
According to him, the card readers would help INEC to check electoral fraud and make every vote count, adding that so far, the commission has attained 91.4 per cent success in the distribution of Permanent Voters Card in the state.
Okojie stated that out of a total of 1,458,780 PVCs received, the commission has so far distributed 1,328,715 across to registered voters in the state, and the few left are expected to be given out to owners before the elections.
The INEC boss however noted that non-sensitive election materials would be in place at the different local government areas at least a week before the elections to avoid errors of past elections, as well as ensure smooth process of voting.
He confessed that the commission was aware of the fact that the 2011 elections were by no means perfect and so has put in place some principles in preparation for the 2015 elections to consolidate the gains of 2011 elections and prevent a reoccurrence of its weaknesses.
According to him, the 2011 elections had sent some lessons to the Commission which it had worked on and improved upon in working towards next month?s polls.
In his words: “Some key lessons we learnt from the 2011 elections and those reviews that followed include: Good elections require adequate and timely planning, good elections are about openness, despite all the encomiums, the elections were by no means perfect”.