By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA – As preparations for next year’s general elections gather momentum, the Federal Government, yesterday, called on critical stakeholders in electoral matters to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in order to ensure peaceful and transparency in conduct of the elections.
The government, which made the called at a two-day conference on electoral corruption and integrity in Nigeria, organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, in Abuja, noted that INEC lone cannot succeed without synergy with other stakeholders.
Speaking through the Director, Documentation, Translation and Publication at the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Dr. Davidson Aminu, the government also urged, Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, accommodation and maturity to enable the country achieve a successful 2019 general polls.
According to Aminu, “The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has the onerous task of conducting peaceful, free and fair elections. However, INEC alone cannot succeed without synergy with other critical stakeholders either in their individuals or instructional capacities to effectively manage the elections.
“In discharging their respective and collective responsibilities, both the INEC and other stakeholders must be guided by the need for the process to be transparent, ensuring that voters are guaranteed the exercise of their voting rights and that political parties are offered level playing field.
“Both the state and non-state actors in the electoral process must place national interest over and above any personal interest.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. It is our collective responsibility to stand for the unity, peace, stability and sustainable democratic good governance. This should motivate all Nigerians to join hands to ensure the success of the 2019 elections.”
The NOA top officer, who set standard for electoral integrity in Nigeria, charged that the electoral empire must provide level playing field for all the political parties.
He said, “The commission must sustain the current momentum in the planning and preparation for elections. All logistics must be in place and there should be adequate manpower and materials to cater for the registered voters. “
The political parties according to him, “Must be mindful of teir actions and utterances and guard against provocative statements capable of over-heating the polity and precipitating the breakdown of law and orer in their political campaigns.
“Responsible and civilized campaign requires that politicians address issues of ideas and developments and not to succumb to mudslinging or the appeal to primordial emotions.”