By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) had called on all stakeholders and other FCT residents to ensure peaceful coexistence before, during and after the rescheduled presidential and national assembly elections.
FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello made this call while addressing stakeholders at an event it organized to sensitize residents and the electorate on the imperative and gains of peaceful elections.
While addressing political party leaders, security organizations, traditional leadérs, youth and women groups, civil society organizations, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the indigenous groups among others, Bello noted that the administration had put necessary mechanism in place to guarantee peaceful elections.
Represented by the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Christian Ohaa assured that with the collaboration of security agencies and the electorate, the election will be violence free.
He appealed to all stakeholders to always be alert and report any suspicious activity to the relevant security agencies for necessary action, even as they join the ongoing effort towards ensuring a peaceful elections.
Also calling on residents to ensure they collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and properly safeguard them, the Minister urged them to use it wisely to elect candidates of their choice.
He added that residents should guard their minds from all fake news, but cross check emerging issues in the media, especially social media.
According to him, as one people in one city, the pursuit of peace remained a collective effort, that must be keyed into during and after the elections.
He further warned politicians against taking laws into their hands in a bid to win the various positions they are contesting for.
To ensure advancement of peaceful coexistence, FCT Administration revealed it has advised intensified sensitization of the public and the provision of adequate security before and during the forthcoming elections.
The FCT Minister therefore tasked relevant authorities to ensure that the rural areas within the nation’s capital were adequately manned by security operatives to avoid electoral violence.
Meanwhile, various stakeholders that spoke at the critical stakeholders’ meeting for peaceful elections in the FCT, decried that relevant agencies have not done enough sensitization in the Area Councils where the main electorates reside.
One of the stakeholders, and FCT Chairperson of National Council of Women Society ( NCWS) Mrs. Nancy Bulus said security agencies must give more attention to the hinterlands, as the remote places are the main flash points of electoral violence in the Territory.
Bulus also noted that the residents were ready to participate in the elections, but needed to be assured of adequate safety and security.
Another speaker, Chairman NUJ, FCT Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche who commended the FCTA for the initiative, reiterated commitment of members of the union to peaceful, credible and fair elections through timely, accurate and unbiased reportage.
Ogbeche therefore warned journalists against unethical conduct before, during and after the elections, as doing so could adversely affect the society.
On her part, acting Director, FCTA Department of Information and Communications, Mrs. Stella Ojeme whose department organized the event, expressed hope that the FCT would be peaceful, because the Territory has always been peaceful in the previous elections.
Ojeme noted that the FCT as a symbol of Nigeria’s unity and oneness belonged to all Nigerians.
She adds that: “We do not want to be running helter and skelter back to our states. Let’s join hands together and ensure peace continues to reign in the FCT.”