By Efio-Ita Nyok| 26 March 2015| 6:31 am
In an Interactive Session With Tertiary Students/Stakeholders Across The State, organised by the Commissioner of Police, namely, CP Henry A. Fadairo of the Nigerian Police Force(NPF), Cross River State Command on Wednesday 25 March 2015, the President of National Association of Cross River State (NACRISS) Worldwide, Comrade Uke Marshal assured the police boss of a violence free elections in the state come 28 March and 11 April.
In his words directly addressing the commissioner he said, 'There will be peace 100%, but don't fail us'.
He reminded the police boss, a cross section of royal fathers, religious leaders from both Christian and Muslim extractions and the entire audience of student leaders that, 'students are rational'.
The fore most student leader emphasised the fact that student unionism has always been a force, drawing attention to the activities of such student unionist movement as the West African Students Union (WASU), etc and therefore ascertained before the entire audience that,
'We will never disappoint the Commissioner of Police(CP), but they should not disappoint us…They are pushing students to the wall.'
This meeting between students Union leaders and security operatives in the state came on the hills of the forthcoming general elections in the country. CP Henry A. Fadairo informed the audience that this meeting was necessitated by the fact that they had received intelligence telling them that some politicians are poised to use some students to disrupt the peace in the forthcoming elections. In his words,
'I will want a violence free election'. Again he said, 'We know whom we are dealing with, the students are our friends'.
The commissioner went on to state that the CR command of the Nigerian Police Force would not want to get into a fuse with students of CR state seeing that in some instances they have become in his words, 'comrades-police'.
On his part, the Emeritus Bishop of Calabar Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church and Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state, Archbishop Joseph Edra Ugbo, charged the students to tread the path of peace asking them to consider themselves first and their wellbeing before any other, especially politicians. In his words, he said,
'In this I will allow you selfishness, elections are not a do or die affair'. Sequel to speaking for about 10 minutes, the eminent religious leader concluded by saying that:
'Elections does not mean war, it does not mean absence of peace; it means peaceful elections'.
The Chief Imam of the Bogobiri Mosques and leader of the Muslim community in the state charged the students thus:
'There is no right to involve yourselves in electoral violence. Any politician who doesn't bring his/her eldest son/daughter to lead the violence group, then he doesn't mean well'.
Other speakers spoke on related subjects still charging students to eschew violence. They include the Ntufam of Calabar Municipality, Dean of Students Affairs of the University of Calabar, Presidents of Students Union of both University of Calabar(UNICAL) & Cross River University of Science and Technology (CRUTECH), the Chair of National Association of Nigerian Students-Joint Campus Commission(NANS JCC), etc.
The President of CRUTECH Students Union Government particularly asked the Commissioner to use his good offices to prevail on the Governor, His Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke, to expedite actions and end the on going industrial action by the CRUTECH chapter of Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU). He also assured the police boss that CRUTECH students will not be used as elements to ferment tension in the body-politic in the state in the forthcoming general elections, but adding that they were tired if staying at home.
The interactive session came to an end at 12:19 pm with a closing prayer from an Imam.