The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) on Thursday warned politicians and political parties to guard their utterances, to avoid bloodshed in the Ondo State governorship poll on Saturday.
Frederick Fasehun, the OPC founder, said in a statement in Lagos that unguarded utterances were capable of provoking violence like it happened in the old Ondo State in 1983.
“Hundreds of people, including prominent indigenes, were killed in widespread rioting that broke out in the wake of the heavily flawed governorship elections of 1983.
“The election pitched the incumbent, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin’s Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) against Chief Akin Omoboriowo’s National Party of Nigeria (NPN), who was declared the winner,” it stated.
The statement said the will of Ondo State people must be allowed to prevail on Saturday and citizens must not be subjected to any form of intimidation and violence.
It decried reports that politicians had allegedly recruited private armies of thugs for the election.
The statement said the polls appeared to be holding in the same atmosphere of tension and distrust that led to the breakdown of law and order in 1983.
It urged the people to be wary of those politicians who were making inflammatory statements and who were neither residents nor indigenes of Ondo State.
“The rule of the game must be: One man, one vote.
“All votes and results must be held sacrosanct as they emanate from the polling booths and collation centres,” the statement said.
It said the people would not forgive any politician sponsoring activities that would lead to a breakdown of peace.
It decried the bitterness, rancour, accusations and counter-accusations that had characterised the campaigns, saying, they connoted an evil omen that must be deflated and defeated.
The group, however, commended assurances by the Independent National Electoral Commission that the election would be free and fair.