CIVIL society group the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (Huriwa) has urged the US and UK to impose visa bans on political stakeholders involved in any form electoral malpractice during the Saturday’s impending governorship elections in Ondo State.
This weekend, Ondo State goes to the polls to elect a governor in what is looking like a two-horse race between incumbent Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). With the political temperature very high, there are fears that the polls may be marred with violence and vote rigging.
In August, the US government imposed visa restrictions on several politicians who masterminded violence and rigging of the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States. Then with the Edo State gubernatorial elections last month, the UK followed this up with a threat to impose visa restrictions on any officials involved in election irregularities.
Praising the UK and US for taking measures to help Nigeria clean up its electoral system, Huriwa said there is now a need to extend these tough measures to Ondo State. Emmanuel Onwubiko, Huriwa’s national coordinator, also urged voters to resist any attempt by politicians to lure them into thuggery.
He added: “We specifically urge the UK and US embassies to follow through with their threats to impose visa ban on the electoral officials if the weekend’s Ondo State governorship election is undermined. Huriwa also hereby appeals to young voters in Ondo State never to accept to be lured into becoming political thugs in the state for any politician because their future should be uppermost in their minds and in their calculations.
“The youths who are approached to take up arms for politicians should ask the politicians to bring their own biological children and to stop attempting to destroy their future. Our youths are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a peaceful governorship election on Saturday.”