As the campaigns for the 2019 general elections gather momentum, immediate past president of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has urged political office seekers to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship devoid of rancour, acrimony or bitterness.
In a press release yesterday by his media aide, Mr Paul Mumeh, in Abuja, Senator Mark counseled, "Let the campaigns be issue based according to the rules. There is no need for acrimony, mudslinging or bitterness. Let the will of the people prevail."
Addressing Benue State gubernatorial candidates and their running mates during a nonpartisan parley he convened in his Otukpo, Benue State country home, Senator Mark implored politicians to avoid any action or utterance that could heat up the polity and cause disaffection.
He specifically cautioned the gubernatorial contenders and their followers against resorting to violence during and after the elections, as that would only aggravate the situation.
Mark prayed for violence free and credible elections just as he reminded his kinsmen that, "we are one. Elections will come and go but the people remains".
Reiterating his resolve to play the role of a statesman in the contemporary politics of Nigeria, he stressed: "Elections comes every four years. If you don't win today, you can win tomorrow. So there is no need for desperation or resort to self-help."
In his remarks, the governor of Benue State and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), Dr Samuel Ortom who spoke through his deputy, Chief Benson Abuonu, said the state government subscribed totally to the nonviolent, free and fair polls.
He praised Senator Mark for the peace move pointing out that the convocation of the nonpartisan parley showed that the convener is a true leader of the people.
All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Mr Emmanuel Jime in his message, prayed for a peaceful conduct of the forthcoming elections. He thanked the convener of the parley for the bold steps taken towards ensuring free and fair elections in the state.
Labour Party governorship candidate, Dr Paul Angya said the glaring underdevelopment in the state over the years necessitated his ambition for the plum position in order to make positive changes in the state.
Dr Dickson Akor of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dr Stephen Akuma of National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr Emmanuel Ayua of Young Peoples Party (YPP) and Mrs Ene Edeh of Peoples' Trust (PT) in their separate remarks pledged to carry out the electioneering campaigns according to the rules.
They however demanded level playing field that would guarantee free, fair and credible elections.