Uyo — President Olusegun Obasanjo warned yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital that the Federal Government would not tolerate any form of violence from politicians or aspirants in the build-up to the forthcoming 2007 general elections in the country.
The President who is on a three-day visit to the state spoke against the backdrop of violence that has erupted in some states ahead of the polls.
Speaking at a civic reception, he said "Let me say it here and now, this administration will not countenance any violence from any quarter in the process of politics, campaigns and competition ahead of us".
Obasanjo who spoke at a civic reception organized for him at Ibom Hall by the people and government of Akwa Ibom State said "what I have said here, I hope to continue in that spirit and in that mode."
"We will not allow it. We will endeavour to provide a level playing field for all but we will not allow or condone violence whatever the position anybody may claim to be or no matter how highly placed he or she may be", Obasanjo said.
The President said he was so delighted by the way politicians in Akwa Ibom State were going about their activities ahead of the 2007 elections as against what obtains in some other states or sections of the country.
President Obasanjo who urged politicians and aspirants in other parts of the country to emulate the type of politics and campaigns being practiced in Akwa Ibom State said he was surprised to see politicians and aspirants from the state holding hands and shaking themselves while their supporters sang and danced together.
On arrival in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, he said, "as we go, I see people who carried placard for one gubernatorial aspirant or the other, and I asked the Governor (Attah) how many aspirants do you have? He said I do not count. And I said well you don't ask me how many Presidential aspirants are there now, I said at the last count, I had nineteen, and just before I came here today (Friday) another one told me that he is now an aspirant".
"But one thing I found here and I remarked to the governor, and I want to remark it to all of you is that there is an element of healthy competition in Akwa Ibom State.
"I have seen people who are aspirant holding hands and talking together and supporters holding their banners, hands and dancing side by side. And I think this is a very good. If you can continue this way, this is very good example for other parts of the country to see and indeed for the country as a whole".
Obasanjo continued: "Politics must not be a game of do or die after all the purpose for which you are going into politics is that you are going to meet all sort of competition. It is because you want to serve the people.
"Let the people give you the mandate to serve them don't destroy them with violence. Don't destroy your competitors. And if you really have serious ability to perform more than your competitors why do you want to destroy them with violence go and destroy them at the poll. Go and win them at the poll, go there and campaign.
"Let the people give you the mandate and if people give you the mandate, let us see; if people do not give you the mandates, go home.
"Let me say it here and now, this administration will not countenance any violence from any quarters in the process of politics, campaign and competition," the President said.
Obsanjo said, so far, he was impressed with development of the state between the period he last visited the state and now especially roads net work and electrification projects. The visit continues today.
Political violence has reared its ugly heads in some states ahead of the 2007 elections.
Last July 27, a leading gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Chief Funso Willians, was strangled to death in his Lagos residence.
Many have linked his death to politics though the police are yet to conclude investigations into the matter.
Two weeks ago, supporters of the Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and those of an Alliance for Democracy (AD) gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, clashed in Osogbo, the state capital during the Oroki Day celebration.
The clash claimed one life and left many wounded.