The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Anambra State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, has urged traditional rulers in the state to preach to the electorate in their domains to desist from acts that could cause a breach of peace during the forthcoming general elections.
Orji made the call yesterday when he visited the traditional ruler of Ekwulobia community in Aguata local government area, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke.
The REC came in the company of some officials of European Union Election Observation Mission who are in the country to monitor the conduct of the general elections.
He stated that the commission had recruited about 25,000 ad-hoc staff to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections in the state.
Stating that about 73 of the 91 political parties are participating in the February 16 presidential poll, a development which might cause a little delay in releasing the result after the election, the REC said that it was necessary to start early to sensitise the electorate to be patient in case such a delay is experienced after the election.
He said, “Because of this number of political parties, I know that it will not be easy conducting and releasing the results of the 2019 presidential election and other positions.
“All I am appealing is that traditional rulers, religious leaders and other community leaders should enlighten their people on the need to be peaceful while the process lasted”, he said.
Dr. Orji said that the training for the ad-hoc staff was almost being concluded, and appealed to Anambra people to believe in the assurances of INEC to conduct credible elections.
Also speaking, the leader of the European Union Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Mr Andrea Staeritz, said the mandate of his group was only to monitor the elections.
He appealed to Nigerians to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner during the exercise.
Responding, the Royal Father who commended his visitors for selecting his area for the advocacy visit added that the visit was the second he had been privileged to listen to INEC officials on their preparations for the 2019 polls.
“I was part of the advocacy visit INEC paid to the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council’s Chamber, Awka and since then we have been sensitising our people on the need to embrace the general elections peaceful.
“We have equally been telling those yet to collect their PVCs to go and collect them to enable them to vote candidates of their choice on Election Day,’’ he said.