Some ex-militants leaders from the Niger Delta have rejected any attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be subjected to further pressure by the federal government and the armed forces to postpone the March 28 and April 11 elections.
In a statement signed on behalf of their communities by Gen. Boni, and Smart Amola, representing Burutu Local Government Area and Warri South West respectively, the ex-militants also rejected any attempt to deploy the military during the electoral process.
The statement, which was also signed by Francis Muturu, Friday Edema, Sunday Amoma, Gen. Saturday Emmanuel, Gen. Isie Ologbo, Alfred Aniretan, Gen. King Jerry, Commander Mike Edesemi and Commander Peter Asule of Warri North Local Government hailed the decision of the judiciary that the armed forces have no role in elections.
“We insist that the elections must be credible, free and fair. We insist that for this to happen, the elections must hold on March 28 and April 11, and the armed forces must be excluded. We demand that INEC and its chairman be independent and be allowed to do their work free from pressure from the armed forces or the federal government. We insist that their preparation and plan for the election be allowed to materialise, including tools and requirements for the elections,” the statement said.
The group also denounced any pronouncement that suggests that there would be a breakdown of law and order in the Niger Delta if a particular candidate is not returned victorious.
The ex-militants promised that the Niger Delta would be peaceful and would also accept the result of transparent, credible, free and fair elections that will take place on March 28 and April 11 as rescheduled by INEC.
“We condemn any statements or plans that convey the Niger Delta as being undemocratic or supporting one particular candidate. We reiterate that citizens of the Niger Delta in exercise of their constitutional rights may support any party or candidate of their choice in a peaceful manner, and assure their safety and security in this choice and in the aftermath of the elections. We inform that it is the failure to hold transparent, credible, free and fair elections on March 28 and April 11 that may lead to chaos, insecurity and problems in the Niger Delta,” the statement added.
The group warned that any attempt to deploy soldiers, or intimidate and harass citizens in the Niger Delta prior to, during and after the elections will be strongly resisted.