Poll: Disqualify Violent Candidates, Mark Urges INEC, Political Parties

Source: EMMA UCHE - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, Jan 31, (THEWILL) - The Senate President, Senator David Mark today urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties and security operatives to disqualify forthwith any candidate found to be involved in violent campaigns.

Mark who made the call against the backdrop of the creeping violence in the run up to campaigns for the 2011 general elections also cautioned political office seekers against resorting to violence or campaign of calumny as a weapon to win election.

Senator Mark advised that only issue-based campaign was desirable by Nigeria and Nigerians, adding that “there must be paradigm shift from character assassination to developmental issues that could uplift the society, in our quest for political offices.

Addressing members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Reconciliation and Peace Committee set up to reconcile aggrieved members in the aftermath of the primaries in Benue State, he reiterated the need for punitive measures to be meted against violent Politicians.

“Our campaigns must be issue based. We must avoid inflammatory or provocative statements. Any politician who has something to offer cannot resort to violence or character assassination,” Mark said.

Specifically, the Senate President advised all those who lost primary elections to accept defeat like good sportsmen and rally round the winners and the party for victory at the general elections.

“There should be no need to carry animosity of the primary to the general election. Jumping ship to another political party is not an answer. The real answer lies in working in harmony with the winners and the party to bring development to our people. It is a corrective responsibility,” he stressed.

Briefing the Senate president earlier, the Chairman of the PDP reconciliation committee Chief Mike Onoja explained that the committee was necessitated by the urgent need to put the house in order before the general election in April.

Like Mark, Onoja cautioned against resort to violence and inflammatory statements because ‘there is almost a consensus among all Nigerians that 2011 elections must be free, fair and credible.’