Wednesday, 24 April, 2024

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South-East traditional rulers, religious leaders task INEC on credible poll in Imo


Amid tension and anxiety ahead of tomorrow’s off-season elections in three states, particularly that of Imo, a joint body of traditional rulers and religious leaders in the South-East have challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure it delivers a flawless election, effectively using all technology and human capacity at its disposal.
The joint body particularly charged INEC to forestall any illegal tampering with the election results or any act that could question the integrity of the conduct of election and declaration of results.
According to the joint body, the relevant bodies and government at various levels playing their roles to ensure a free, fair and transparent election would minimise post-election disputes and enable the winner declared gain the immediate support of the electorate.
The group under the aegis of the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution made the call in statement signed by Chairman, Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe; Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia, Most Reverend Chibuzo Opoko; Chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe L.O.C. Agubuzu and Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke.
Expressing its fears about an orderly, peaceful, harmonious, and unifying gubernatorial election in Imo State, the joint council said apart from the INEC, security agencies, the federal and Imo state governments, the electorate also have to live up to their roles.
It urged security agencies to ensure a peaceful and free movement of people out to exercise their civic duties and prevent troublemakers from disrupting elections or carrying out attacks on any section of the people based on ethnicity, religion or party affiliations.
The council urged security agencies to also devote particular attention to the already reported instances of insecurity, violence, kidnapping for ransom, shedding of innocent blood, and attacks on public buildings and uniformed officers.
Furthermore, the group tasked traditional rulers in Imo State to work in concert with their town and community leadership to ensure a conducive environment for the election in their domains.
The council urged all registered voters to come out enmasse to exercise their responsibilities and urged them to vote in accordance with their conscience and not material gains.
The council also charged traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders to speak to those under them on the imperativeness of peaceful participation in the election.
The statement read, in parts: “We implore the Federal and Imo State Governments and their relevant agencies to do their utmost to ensure that the election is free, fair and transparent.
“This would eliminate or minimize any post-election disputes and enable the winner to gain the immediate support of the electorate in confronting the challenges at hand.
“We beseech all registered voters to come out in full force to exercise their constitutional rights and responsibilities of voting for the candidates of their choice without fear or favour.
“We urge the electorates to resist any intimidation or efforts to compromise their conscience with cheap financial or material gestures that could provide momentary comfort but impoverish and compromise them for four years or longer through bad governance.
“We remind the electorate, the political class, and candidates for elective office that they share the highest responsibility for strengthening our nascent democratic culture through their lawful conduct.
“We call on the leaders of all political parties and their candidates to remind their supporters, stakeholders, and party faithful, to commit unequivocally to non-violence and maintenance of peace during the elections and beyond.
“We call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rise to its statutory mandate in delivering a flawless election with all the technology and human capacity at its disposal.
“It is crucial for the body to re-assure the people of Imo State and Nigerians of the integrity of its processes called into question by the flawed 2023 General Elections. INEC must act to forestall illegal tampering with the election results.
“We reiterate that the security agencies have a solemn duty to guarantee the peaceful and free movement of people who come out to exercise their civic duties, as well as prevent troublemakers from disrupting the elections, or attacks on any section of the people bases on ethnicity, religion or party affiliations before, during or after the election.
“We urge that they devote particular attention to the already reported instances of insecurity, violence, kidnapping for ransom, shedding of innocent blood, and attacks on public buildings and uniformed officers.
“We make the above demands based on the fact that much of our current circumstances is linked directly and indirectly to the primary challenge of forging a pathway to an inclusive and prosperous nationhood.
“It is in the name of Almighty God therefore, that we, the Joint Body, are calling on all traditional rulers in Imo State to work in concert with their town and community leadership to ensure a conducive environment for the elections in their domains.
“We also call on all religious leaders of Islamic, Christian and other religions, to admonish their faithful to be of good conduct as they perform their constitutional duties of participating in the electoral process in their numbers.
“In conclusion, we urge all Nigerians to pray fervently for Almighty God to guide us to freely and transparently elect leaders in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States imbued with vision, wisdom, courage, compassion, and the fear of God, to restore good governance and lead their States towards the attainment of their full potential to the benefit of their constituents, the electorate and to the glory of the nation, Nigeria as a leader of African and Black peoples the world over.”

Credit: Daily Sun

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