Ahead of Saturday's governorship election in Edo State, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on all concerned to ensure that the election is peaceful, free, fair and transparent in the interest of the nation's democracy.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party particularly urged the PDP- controlled federal government not to use the security forces, which it controls, to thwart the will of the people just to satisfy the yearnings of some anti-democratic forces.
"The good people of Edo should be allowed to exercise their franchise in a conducive environment devoid of harassment and violence, just as they should be allowed to protect their votes from ballot thieves. Once this is done, the results will be agreeable to all and the country's democracy would be the best for it.
"The PDP, which has already started pre-election manipulation in the name of a bogus opinion poll that gave the party an overwhelming victory in the election, should stop all its evil machinations and play by the rules, if only for once. Rather than relying on the concocted opinion of paid hackers, the PDP should strut its stuff at the polling booths on Saturday and let the people's opinion count!" it said.
The ACN appealed to the soldiers who have been deployed for the polls not to mortgage their professional ethics to satisfy the whims of a dinosaurian self-acclaimed fixer, who has nothing but contempt for sanctity of the ballot box.
"We are confident that the soldiers and other security agents will not forget that their allegiance is to the nation, rather than to individuals, no matter how powerful such individuals may be. We urge them not to prevent people from exercising their rights, which include staying behind to ensure that their votes are not only counted, but are made to count," the party said.
ACN called on its members and supporters in the state to eschew violence, as they have always done, but to be very vigilant, reminding them of the saying that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
"If the pre-election boasts, thuggery and manipulative tendencies by the PDP are anything to go by, the party will try to reap where it did not sow, as it has always done. We therefore call on all our members and supporters to turn out en masse to vote and to also defend every vote. Complacency is not an option on Saturday!" the party said.