MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
With less than 72 hours to Saturday’s off cycle Governorship elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States, authorities of
the Department of State Services (DSS) have cautioned all stakeholders to avoid making statements that are capable of setting the peace of the country in crisis.
In a press statement on Thursday by its Director, Public Relations and Strategic Communications, Dr. Peter Afunanya said the Service has “observed rising trends and patterns of incendiary comments by some personalities of influence and representatives of non-governmental entities within and outside the country” stating that such statements run against public peace and harmony.
“It is strongly believed that a resort to acerbic pronouncements by certain persons will not only heat-up the polity but set the ground for deep-seated animosities and divisions among the populace. Also, it serves the country no good if its own citizens, whether at home or abroad, demarket or subvert her through misleading and false narratives.”
The DSS said, “with the elections and the attendant contentions legally over, it is expected that we should forge ahead in nation building without rancour or acrimony. This is against the backdrop that reckless rhetorics have the capacity to lead to social unrest and instability, which can put the country’s well-being and the general safety of citizens at risk.
“Similarly, the Service urges key players and their supporters in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States to conform to the rules of engagement and specifically the electoral law during the 11th November, 2023 gubernatorial elections in the areas. The aim is to avert situations likely to undermine the processes. So far, the Service has substantially liaised with INEC, sister security agencies and relevant NGOs to ensure hitch free exercises in the affected States.
“The Service, therefore, implores all stakeholders, irrespective of their political affiliations or grievances, to engage in respectful and constructive conversations that promote collective understanding. It has thus become imperative that public commentaries should shift towards unity and peace necessary for national development and security. This should be our shared responsibility and indeed the priority of everyone.
“Those on election duties, including the media and civil society, are encouraged to avoid things that will inflame sentiments and cause a breakdown of law and order. Broadcast and monitoring activities should be devoid of manipulations. Stakeholders are enjoined to note that politics should not be used to destroy the country or any part of it.
The Service added however, that individuals or groups that may decide to engage in illegitimate acts or inimical conducts to public order will be decisively dealt with as dictated by the law.
“Consequently, citizens are encouraged to be patriotic as well as recognise that our loyalty and love to the nation should transcend individual or parochial interests. Everyone is
called upon to eschew bitterness and promote dialogue that contributes to the progress of
the nation. Together, we can build a stronger and more secure future for our beloved country.”