Connect with us


Onaiyekan, Jega, Agwai, others call for peaceful, credible polls



Onaiyekan, Jega, Agwai, others call for peaceful, credible polls
Spread the love

Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Prof Attahiru Jega, retired Gen. Martin Agwai and others have called for a peaceful and credible General Elections.

This is contained in a statement co-signed by seven other members of the Nigerian Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance, a coalition of eminent Nigerian.

Others are Amb. Fatima Balla, Dr Nguyan Feese, Prof Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr Usman Bugaje, Dr Aisha Murtala Muhammed-Oyebode and Dr Chris Kwaja.

The group said that the 2023 elections was an opportunity for Nigeria to make remarkable progress towards strengthening and consolidating its democracy.

“Our Nation is preparing for one of the most monumental markers of any democracy on Feb. 25, we will exercise our rights and responsibilities as citizens to choose our next president, governors and legislators.

“The members of the working group on peacebuilding and governance in Nigeria, composed of civic and religious leaders, wish to lend our voices to this important, exciting and naturally tension-filled period.

“Our country has made remarkable progress toward strengthening and consolidating our democracy and this year marks 24 years since the restoration of democratic, multiparty constitutional rule in Nigeria.

“We can be proud also that just as in 2015, we achieved the country’s first ever peaceful presidential transition from an incumbent to an opposition candidate.

“The 2023 election provides yet another opportunity for a peaceful transition of power through a credible process,” he said.

The group however expressed concerns about worrying signs that the democratic culture of Nigeria was still plagued by major challenges.

They stated that there were significant signs that many in the political class were still deploying violence and purveying fake, hate and dangerous messages.

They said that the culture of vote buying remained a significant threat to the ability of citizens to vote for credible and competent candidates in spite of the on-going currency change crisis which might make citizens even more vulnerable to inducement.

“The political, social and economic environment in the country is being poisoned by ill timed policy measures such as the Naira redesign policy and rising tension between the Presidency, the Central Bank and State Governors.

“While the cash crunch is crippling the economy and increasing hardship, we are concerned about the dangers posed by the anti-social and anti-democratic actions of some of the political actors,” .

The group urged citizens to be more determined on working towards defending the its rights to a free, fair and credible election.

They called on all election stakeholders to remain vigilant in ensuring that Nigerians had peaceful and credible electoral outcomes determined by the choice of citizens.

They also urged election stakeholders to ensure that the elections were held in accordance with the applicable laws, rules and regulations and based on common respect for every citizen’s humanity and for the country’s democracy.

They added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties and their supporters and the Nigeria security forces had a special responsibility in the period leading up to the elections, during and after.

They said that political candidates, party officials and supporters must avoid behavior and actions that would undermine the credibility of the electoral process or lead to a breach of peace.

“Security agencies must uphold the principles of professionalism, neutrality and respect for human rights at all times in the discharge of their duties;

“Citizens must ensure that in making their choices, they remain focused on the competence and integrity of candidates not the inducement some of them may offer,”.


Source – NAN