By Emmanuel Elebeke
THE United Nations Secretary in Nigeria, Mohammed Chambers yesterday challenged the Nigerian government and all stakeholders in the upcoming general elections to work harder at ensuring that the outcome of the exercise before, during and after the polls will be clothed in the globally acceptable tenets of a free, fare, credible and peaceful process.
The Envoy gave the charge on Saturday at the National Workshop on Broadcast Media Coverage of the 2019 General Elections with the theme: Fake News, Hate Speech, Vote and PVC Buying’’ in Abuja.
Chambers, who was represented at the occasion by Takwa Zebulun said Nigeria as the big brother that had played a stabilizing role in many parts of Africa and consolidating their democracies should be able to conduct a credible and fair election that would be globally accepted.
According to him, Nigeria occupies a strategic position in West Africa, the African continent, and indeed globally and therefore expected to deliver, credible, peaceful and fair elections in 2019 in a manner that improves upon the performance of the 2015 elections.
His words, ‘‘I want to assure you that our engagements are solely complementing what INEC and relevant institutions and stakeholders are already doing to further mobilize Nigerians as well as the international community to contribute towards violent free, hitch free elections that will symbolize global best practice.
‘‘The issues on the agenda on the sanctity of the 2019 general elections cannot be overstated. The damage done to the citizen participation in democracy when we buy and sell votes and distort information.
‘‘This state level workshop seek to reinforce and complement the capacity of the key actor to prevent, manage and resolve possible election related disputes peacefully. We are planning similar engagements in other states considered as hot spots as part of our preventive and preemptive initiatives for peaceful elections.’’
He urged stakeholders to ensure that the outcome of the general elections before, during and after the polls will be clothed in the acceptable tenets of a free, fare, credible and peaceful process.
He heightened the need for all stakeholders to shun all form of discourse that could ignite tensions and violence.
On UN message, he said every effort by both politicians and electorates must be geared towards making Nigeria the overall winner after elections.
He said, ‘‘the message of the UN and international community to all stakeholders, voters, party supporters is that at the end of the electoral process, Nigerian as a country should be made the overall winner.
‘‘Over the years, the Nigerian electoral process has continued to improve. It my wish that the country will continue to overcome all adversity and set the pace in establishing the positive tradition that leaders, quest to power or consolidate it must never be stained with the blood of any Nigerian.
‘‘Nigeria occupies a strategic position in West Africa, the African continent, and indeed globally. It is therefore, crucial that Nigeria delivers, credible, peaceful and fair elections in 2019 in a manner that improves upon the performance of the 2015 elections.
‘‘I urge all the stakeholders to double their efforts in ensuring an issue based elections, and to avoid messages of hate and politic of acrimony, bitterness, and rancor that undermine peace and stability. Nigeria as the big brother has played a stabilizing many parts of Africa and consolidating their democracy.’’
He advocated that all candidates and each party be given level playing field, respected and be treated fairly. He also expressed his concern that, fewer women and youth candidates have been fielded by political parties than expected of Nigeria with a large number of women voters and enthusiastic youth eager to take part in nation building as responsible leaders.