Enugu Labour Party governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, challenges citizens to defend their votes, amidst fears of a violent disruptions on Saturday.

Enugu voters will file out on 11 March to elect its fourth governor since 1999. The State has hitherto peaceably managed its transitions.

The Labour candidate was responding to voter fears of violence in both governorship and Houses of Assembly elections holding same day.

Edeoga said that citizens defending their votes will eliminate politicians that “turned the economic resources of the state into private enterprises.”

He told party faithful from Aninri and Awgu LGAs that he is aware of plans by certain political actors in the state to use violence and thuggery to influence the outcome of the polls.

However, he believes that the people can resist such plans when united in resilience.

He thanked the people for lifting the State Labour Party to victory in the 25 February presidential election.

Edeoga equally urged them to repeat the same feat during the governorship elections “to cement the emergence of Labour Party as the new platform for freedom and expedited development in the State.”

Voting Labour Party is important, he said, because this will reinforce the massive support given to Mr. Peter Obi in that election.

“It will serve as further proof that the votes cast in Enugu was no fluke, especially given that the election is currently being contested in court.

“You do not have to be afraid of these threats of violence. They are merely trying to make you afraid.

“They tried it during the last election but could not succeed.

“We must uphold the integrity of our communities by resisting the invasion by outsiders, whether they call them Ayes, or they call them Black Axe or they call them Black Thugs, whatever they are called.

“This victory by democratic forces, as we know is likely for Labour Party, should not be thwarted; it should not be frustrated. We have to make sure that the right of individuals; women, men, and youths; to vote freely, without coercion, without disturbance, without humiliation; to vote who they choose must be maintained.

The candidate accused the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of plans to rig the election and asked youths to thwart it.

“The path to victory by the Labour party is clear and incontestable, and it is an eloquent statement of the new direction which Enugu State wants to go.

“But we are facing the danger of a reversal, by people who have ruined Enugu State, misgoverned Enugu State, and have shown lack of empathy and lack of love for our people.

“So, please, do not allow our votes to be destroyed. Vote at the polling units and stay to see that they are counted.”

He reminded the people that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does not mind that people stay back after voting to witness the vote count.

“I am therefore begging and pleading. Everybody from our different local governments, once the results are announced, make this final sacrifice for democracy and freedom in Enugu State.

“Move to INEC headquarters in Enugu State. We must occupy, we must be vigilant we must wait.

“If we lose one night’s sleep around INEC in Enugu, we would have paid a reasonable price for our liberty and democracy.

“I am calling on you to come prepared. Bring bread, bring biscuits, bring tea, bring water, move from all local government headquarters to Enugu in your vehicles, in your bicycles, in your Keke NAPEP. Trek with your legs, if that is what is convenient, to the headquarters of INEC and keep watch, wait and pray that INEC does the needful in response to what is clearly the manifest desire of Enugu people as expressed clearly in the votes that have been announced,” he said.

In the last elections, Enugu won seven of the eight House of Representatives seats available in the state, and one of the two senate seats.

Edeoga challenges citizens