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Don’t allow external influence in your decision, Peace C’mtte tells INEC

Says impact of polls shift capable of dampening people’s confidence

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA—National Peace Committee has asked Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not to allow external forces influence its decision.

The committee, which also noted that the postponement of the general election had affected every aspect of lives of the citizens, said the development had the potential to dampen the confidence of the people in the political process.

National Peace Committee, in a statement by its chairman, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) and the convener, Bishop Matthew Kukah, noted that the postponement of the elections “has further deepened anxieties within the international community about our country.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

“Although, Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has already addressed the nation and the leaders of all the political parties, very little has happened to assuage the deep feeling of embarrassment, pain, and disappointment across the land.

Polls shift: INEC Ad-hoc staff, Corps members stranded in Ondo

“The impact of this decision has permeated every stratum of our lives and has the potential to dampen the confidence of our people in the political process. It has further deepened anxieties within the international community about our country.

“There is enough blame to pass around. The real challenge now is for us as a nation, to reach out to the deepest instincts of faith in God and our country. We must put everything aside and see this as a battle that all of us must win. The challenge is not who to sacrifice, but what sacrifice to make.

“We have a common saying in Nigeria: God’s time is the best. However, in real life, certain experiences often temp us to pause and ask whether this statement need to be edited. This is one of such moments.

“However, we must remain hopeful because God is perfect and all knowing. We are humans, He is the God of history and all power belongs to Him alone. He will give to whom He wishes, how and when He wishes. We are merely instruments of His plans. It is against this background that we wish to appeal to our fellow citizens.

“We understand your right to feel betrayed and humiliated by INEC. However, we appeal to you all to see this as a watershed in the life of our fledging democracy. The only way we can ensure a steady democracy is for us to learn the lessons from these sad developments.”

“Therefore, we appeal to you not to count the cost of the set back, but respond to the call to patriotism. Do not relent, go out and fulfil your duty to your family and country on Election Day. We will soon turn the corner in hope.  Rather than despair, rise up to defend our Democracy.

The committee appeal to the political class to “own this process by showing their readiness to collaborate with INEC and to inspire our people to new height.”

“What we have before us is well beyond the struggle for power. Our predicament calls for character and grace. The Politicians must own this process by showing their readiness to collaborate with INEC and to inspire our people to new heights. The challenge before you goes beyond the narrowness of political opportunities. This is not time to trade blames or to incite your supporters. Be temperate in your language so that we do not inadvertently set up our people for violence. Sadly, for us, politics of the last few years have further polarized our people along dangerous religious, regional, ethnic and party lines. We must aim at trying to avert this precipice and try to heal our nation.”



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