By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja

With less than a year to the 2023 elections, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has identified vote-buying, violence and the use of state resources by public office holders for campaigns and other political party activities as the bane of the country’s political development.

The National Chairman of IPAC, Engr. Yabagi Sani, said this at a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General’s Representative for West Africa, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, at the Council’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

He, therefore, called on all stakeholders, particularly the international community, to save Nigeria’s democracy from imminent collapse, noting that the only way a nation can thrive and remain peaceful is through credible elections.

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Sani said, “The bane of our political development are three key issues. They are the obscene use of money to induce voters and buy their votes, the spate of violence that normally increases when elections are near, the use of state resources for electioneering by those in power to gain an unfair advantage over others.

“Nigeria is looked upon by the rest of Africa for leadership. Therefore, the process of electing leaders must not be left to chance.

“When we have an election that does not reflect the wishes of the people, there will be no peace, because the dividends of democracy would not reach the electorates.”

IPAC, therefore, urged the UN to take the bold step of mobilising infrastructural support, in terms of cutting-edge technology, to help reduce the menace of fraud in the country’s electoral process.

“We really like you to see what you can do to ensure that, if we cannot eliminate these challenges, let them be reduced to the barest minimum. We believe the UN can attract to Nigeria some support in terms of the infrastructure that can be used to identify and prosecute vote-buyers. It will help to reduce the cancer of electoral fraud,” Sani said.

Earlier, the UN envoy called for peace ahead of the forthcoming elections amid reports of insecurity in parts of the country.

While reiterating the commitment of the UN to supporting the country’s efforts to consolidate its democratic gains and strengthen national cohesion, Annadif advised political leaders and their parties to resolve their disputes through dialogue.

“You all know the importance of the role played by Nigeria in the African region. So, we are here to meet with all actors that are involved in the electoral process.

“We believe that a successful election is basically an election, which is well prepared for, and has the endorsement and consensus of all political parties.

“Our message is very simple: The West African subregion is facing many challenges in terms of peace and security. If Nigeria, with its challenges and issues, will impact on the region, we wish that the 2023 elections will be conducted in a peaceful manner.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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