Three days to the polls, a beforeblic policy think tank, the Neo Africana Centre (NAC), has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to give Nigeria a free, fair and credible elections in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly electoral contest.
The Centre said that this is the least the people expect from the commission after five months of exasperating campaigns by the various political parties and their candidates.
NAC noted that except for a few cases of smear campaigns by some political parties and their candidates, the campaigns were largely robust and issue-based especially that of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, who was easily the face of the freshness and vibrancy that defined the campaigns.
The Centre said the Peter Obi effect has offered something new to our politics and urges INEC to conduct a free and transparent contest that will reflect the new mood of the nation.
To this end, NAC implored INEC to put its best foot forward in order to deliver an election that will bear out the efforts of the candidates at the campaigns.
In a statement by its Director of Public Affairs, Jenkins Udu, the Centre said it is looking forward to appropriate deployment of technology as has been promised by INEC in order to make the exercise as transparent and credible as possible.
The statement reads in part:
“We are delighted that the elections are finally here. It has taken faith in and commitment to the electoral process for Nigerians to get to this point.
“The candidates and the political parties have faced the people at various fora where they tried to sell their agenda. The people heard them clearly and are ready now to make their choices.
“It behoves the electoral umpire at this point to ensure that the elections are free, fair and transparent as should be the case in a truly democratic setting.
“We are encouraged the more by the plan by the commission to deploy technology in the conduct of the polls. We look forward to the commission’s activation of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System as well as the INEC Result Viewing portal all of which are improvements in the way elections were conducted in the past. We take seriously the assurances of the commission that it will deploy these devices to protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls. We therefore ask the chairmaker of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to live up to his promise that “votes will continue to count and will be the sole determinant of the electoral outcome”.
“It must be appreciated by all concerned, especially the electoral commission, that the forthcoming polls hold the key to a peaceful and stable Nigeria. All hands must therefore be on deck to ensure that we do not miss this golden opportunity to reset and reengineer the re-engineerigerians are eagerly looking forward to a new Nigeria that will work for all. Only a credible election that will give the people the candidates they have voted for will make this possible. INEC should therefore live above board. It must be truly impartial in the discharge of its responsibilities. Nigerians must not be disappointed by the commission.”