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Stakeholders express optimism over free, fair and credible polls





Stakeholders express optimism over free, fair and credible polls


By Remi Koleoso

Akure, Feb. 7, 2019 (NNN) Stakeholders in the South West political arena, have expressed optimism that the forthcoming elections will be free, fair and credible, calling on everyone to play their role in building a better Nigeria.

Speaking on the sidelines of a High-Level Stakeholders’ Dialogue on peaceful and violence-free general elections in Nigeria, holding in Akure, the state’s traditional council described the UN Development Programmes (UNDP) as a positive game changer on peaceful elections in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that the three-day event is being organised by the UNDP.

The representative of the Southwest traditional Council, Alayemore of Ido-Osun, Oba Aderemi Adedapo, noted that UNDP had done well by setting a template for a peaceful free, fair and credible election for the country.

Adedapo expressed optimism that the forthcoming elections would be better following the discussions at the strategic dialogu ahead of the elections.

He said the meeting had agreed that there was need for everyone to play an active role in the electioneering process to make the country better.

The monarch urged INEC to be transparent and accountable in the forthcoming elections, noting that the whole world was watching.

The royal father reminded INEC that whatever affected Nigeria, would undoubtedly affect Africa as a whole, and the world at large.

One of the guest lecturers, Dr Austin Onuoha of the African Centre for Corporate Responsibility, said that the country must criminalise electoral offences.

Onuoha also called for a ban on corrupt politicians from contesting elections in Nigeria as stipulated by law.

“If you have stolen public money, you should not be participating in politics and no party must allow you to fly its banner.

“One of the major challenges facing the electoral processes in Nigeria is the failure to abide by the rules and laws of the land, as well as breakdown of law and order.’’

According to him, the country can get better if politicians abide by the party’s constitution, the Nigerian constitution, as well as the Electoral Act.

He also charged INEC to work towards changing people’s perception that the commission was a biased umpire, and inspire confidence in the people on its ability to conduct elections of globally accepted standards.

Onuoha further charged anyone who won the presidential election to unite the country; and urged others who might lose out to take defeat in good faith and join hands in building the Nigeria of everyone’s dream.

Mr Emmanuel Mamman, Consultant to the UNDP, said Nigeria would be a better place if citizens were well educated and equipped with adequate and factual information.

Mamman noted that Southwest was well positioned because of the level of education in the region, especially with the way challenges in the zone were being dealt with.

He called for a functional educational system across the country, adding that the application of the principles of democracy was all that was required for the country’s electioneering process to get better.

NNN reports that the event, which commenced on Wednesday, is expected to end on Friday.

The workshop has in attendance representatives of traditional rulers, security agencies, the media and Civil Society Organisations.

Others are the National Council for Women Societies, INEC, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, among others. (NNN)


Edited by Nyisom Dore

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