INEC  should disqualify PDP and AAC for peace in Rivers state……. -Dumo Lulu-Briggs,  Accord party governorship candidate in Rivers State.

INEC should disqualify PDP and AAC for peace in Rivers state……. -Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Accord party governorship candidate in Rivers State.

In this interview Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Governorship candidate of the
Accord Party in Rivers State, discusses the suspended Governorship
election in that State and finding a sustainable solution to electoral
disruptions, and violence in Rivers.
*How will you rate the performance of the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2019 general election?*
The greatest challenge we face with our electoral process is really
not INEC, but on the legitimacy of the elected Government. The
legitimacy of a Government is under threat whenever the minority of
eligible voters decide the fate of the majority. The responsibility we
now have as leaders is to increase awareness, improve participation
and promote the power of the ballot box. INEC also has to rebuild its
image as not only an independent electoral body, but an effective and
efficient one.
*There will be supplementary elections in some states, but Rivers is
the only state that elections were suspended. What can be done to
ensure that elections are free from violence?*
Why do peace charters fail (smiles)? It is because peace does not lie
in charters and covenants alone. Peace lies in the hearts and minds of
all people. We should not rely on signed documents alone, there has to
be a genuine desire for peace, a readiness to work and commit towards
building peace in each family and community. I believe that we can
achieve this in Rivers State.
Practical peace is enabling women and men to grow and to hope that
they can build a better life for their children. This will not only
create peace in our time but peace for all time.
*In your pinion what led to the suspension of elections in Rivers State?*
Let me make myself clear the elections were not suspended because of
violence. The elections were suspended because Rivers People had made
up their mind to vote for peace. Our women and men voted for a doctor
who can cure the virus of violence. My vision for making Rivers State
the number one destination for jobs and prosperity in Nigeria gave me
the edge above other candidates. Now, the evidence before us suggests
that the other parties had a contrary vision. What INEC need more than
ever before is courage to do what is right.
Remember, elections are being funded with, tax payers’ money. Parties
that fund and promote violence should be disqualified. When elections
are suspended, rescheduled or cancelled due to violence, tax payers
are punished by paying for the crimes they did not commit.
Rescheduling elections due to violence is the best example of double
taxation.
The evidence that is available shows that the AAC and PDP in Rivers
State were complicit in electoral disruptions across all the local
government areas. They should be disqualified.  Let us not allow the
bullets of murder shoot down justice.
*Will it be fair practice for some parties or their candidates to be
disqualified?*
We need to adhere to rules and procedures. Every competition has
rules. In Athletics if you jump the gun twice, you are disqualified.
Usain Bolt, the fastest 100 meters runner, was once disqualified for
breaking this rule. No party is above the law.
In Rivers State, we must not reward the perpetrators of violence with
another opportunity. In football, when there is a handball in the
penalty area, the referee gives a penalty. INEC knows the parties that
‘have handled the ball. I call on INEC to disqualify all parties that
funded, promoted and participated in violence in Rivers State.
*In States that have history of violence, shouldn’t the military be
used to protect voters and the electoral process?*
The law is clear on the roles of the security agencies during
elections. Let us not subvert this. An election is not war. Let’s heed
the advice of Malala Yousafzai (17 year old Nobel peace Laureate) – If
you want to end the war then instead of sending guns, send books.
Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send
teachers.”
*What is the way to guarantee peaceful election in Rivers State?*
As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have
violence. We cannot get peace through violence; it can only be
attained through understanding. As Rivers State Governor, I will bring
an end to the beginning of all violence. Remember, violence is the
last refuge of the incompetent.
*Is this what motivates you to want to be the next Governor of Rivers State?*
A Government that cannot create Jobs does not deserve to keep its Job.
The Rivers people now need less of the same. Our future lies in ideas.
Fresh ideas! I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for Rivers
People.
*Are you willing to work with all political parties and stakeholders
to promote peace in Rivers?*
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror
that reflects it. My campaign as Governor has been to spread light
across all of the twenty three local government areas in Rivers. This
is what the Lulu-Briggs family has always done.
Violence is not an option for me. But make no mistakes, peace does not
mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace
means solving these differences through peaceful means; through
dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.
*So, what should INEC do next in Rivers State?*
The Rivers people have voted. INEC now has to vote. INEC can either
put their thumb on the ballot paper for the party called violence or
peace. A vote for peace is to disqualify the AAC and PDP.
A wise man once said, There is a higher court than courts of justice,
and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.

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