As the 2023 general elections campaign kick start on September 28, a minister with African Church, Uyo Akwa Ibom State, Rev Richard Peters, has cautioned political party candidates and their followers against championing campaign of violence and calumny in the state to avoid heating up the peaceful political space which the government of the day had established.
The cleric, who is also the Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Media, stated this on Friday in an interview with our correspondent in Uyo ahead of the commencement of the 2023 general election campaigns.
Peters warned politicians and their supporters, especially the opposition parties, against taking what he described as the peaceful disposition of the governor for granted by playing outside the rules, even as he urged the people to reject anyone who markets violence.
He recalled how it was almost impossible in the state to challenge a sitting government or oppose the views of the ”power that be,” saying that such would result in unleashing of terror or death of the antagonist and commended governor Emmanuel for making such a history of “maintaining peace” even in politicking era since the inception of office in 2015.
He said, “As the campaigns for the 2023 elections are going to kick off in less than 10 days, I urge the politicians to play by the rules and avoid campaign of bitterness, calumny, especially against the government of the day.
“It is obvious that the governor has created a platform where political participation thrived with fairness, equity, and peace. Prior to this administration, there was political turbulence; you dare not challenge the power of the day, it was either you were kidnapped, or your family member kidnapped, sometimes killed.
“Looking at Akwa Ibom now, such a thing does not exist rather you see a governorship aspirant block the road without government being perturbed about it. The Aspirants move freely to radio stations to attack the government which they benefited from, and the governor will ignore all those things because of his peaceful nature.”
Peters noted that the governor has never interfered in any institutional processes of a group in choosing its leadership, unlike what was obtainable in the past.
“Unlike what we had in the past, in court, there were lots of litigations where a government official attempted to impose who becomes the village head of a village. Governor Emmanuel’s stance has shown that a leader can rise to popularity even by peaceful disposition and allowing things to thrive freely,” he said.
He, therefore, lauded the governor for bringing and maintaining peace in the state.