The Igbo-Speaking Community in Lagos (ISCL) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure peaceful and fair conduct of the 2023 general elections for a competent candidate to emerge.
The President-General, ISCL, Chief Cyril Eze, made the call at a news conference held at the community’s secretariat on Wednesday in Lagos.
He spoke on the theme: “Nigeria at Crossroads: Getting it Right for a Peaceful and United Country.”
Eze said the call was pertinent to achieving a united country as the 2023 general elections draw near, which he said, was a critical deciding moment for Nigeria.
He said that INEC needed to collaborate with security agencies effectively to ensure free and fair elections.
Eze added that the peaceful co-existence and future of Nigeria was dependent on the effectiveness of INEC to deliver.
“INEC must put adequate machinery in place including a commitment to strong will and equity to conduct free and fair elections.
“In addition, the security agencies should be alert and work with INEC with diligence, fortitude and forthrightness.
“It will be in their hands to save Nigeria as we approach the crossroads of 2023,” he said.
Eze said that the Igbo community had embarked on broad-based mobilisation in markets, communities, associations, youth groups and town unions for members to register and get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
He said that the organisation was also engaging its people through continuous voter education for understanding the newly passed Electoral Act as it related to registration, voting or contesting elections.
He also called on INEC to demonstrate responsibility and efficiency in ensuring that all those who registered for PVCs were issued their cards so as not to disenfranchise them.
Speaking on the community’s stance on an Igbo presidency, Eze said that the organisation was yet to declare support for any presidential candidate.
“For now, we don’t have any candidate that we have decided to support.
“We are not looking for money. We have members who are graduates still looking for jobs. Our youths and women need to be empowered.
“So, we will only support the candidate who meets the demands and needs of the community,” he said.
He congratulated all presidential candidates that emerged from various political parties, urging them to commit to ensuring a free and fair electoral process.
Similarly, Mrs Gloria Amaeze, Woman Leader, ISCL, said that the women in the community would only vote for candidates that would put the needs of the people above personal gains.
Amaeze said that the market women had been educated and mobilised to register and get their PVCs.
She said that members of the community had not been adequately represented at the helm of political affairs, causing neglect to their well-being and development.
“The market women and those at the grassroots are the ones that will vote.
“I am also a market woman and our women have their PVCs. We are only waiting for the right candidate so that we can cast our votes,” she said.
Mr Dominic Aguh, Chairman Igbo-Speaking Community, Mushin Chapter, said the community was agitating for better governance and was not concerned about tribe or ethnicity.
He commended the organisation for continuous efforts toward mobilising members to register for their PVCs, adding that such effort had proved difficult in the past.
He urged members of the Igbo community to wake up, stand united and vote for the right candidate who would care for their interests and needs, regardless of tribe.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Igbo-Speaking Community in Lagos is a registered non-political organisation that seeks to protect and advance the interests of Igbo-speaking people living in Lagos.
Some of its functions include: fostering unity among Igbo-speaking people in Lagos, encouraging peaceful coexistence with other ethnic nationalities, promoting cultural awareness and mobilising people to meet their civic rights and obligations.