Free, Fair, Credible Elections, Panacea To Democratic Growth In Nigeria – Stakeholders
As the 2019 general elections approach, stakeholders in Edo State have insisted that only free fair and credible elections are the necessary ingredients that can guarantee vibrant and acceptable democratic growth in Nigeria.
The stakeholders’ view was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a symposium organized by Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, held in Benin, Edo State.
In attendance at the symposium with the “The Role of INEC, Politicians and Stakeholders in credible Election,” included representatives of the ruling APC, PDP, traditional rulers, civil society groups, the media, Douglas Baye-Osagie, the Senior Legislative Aide to Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki and other relevant groups.
The stakeholders however frowned at the conspicuous absence of INEC and security agencies from the event, in spite of being critical stakeholders in electoral process in the world
They advised the government to ensure and guarantee economic independence of its citizenry to discourage voter apathy and vote buying mentality among electorate.
The communique which was signed by Messers Kevin Okunzua and Ofure Osehobo, said, “that INEC and security agencies must assert their independence to restore and sustain the confidence of the electorate and the international community.
“That political parties should promote internal democracy to discourage party hopping, money politics and thuggery.
“That there should be constant and sustained political engagement via enlightenment of the public by the media, INEC and relevant stakeholders for the sustenance of true democratic growth.
“That media practitioners should avoid partisanship and stick to their avowed responsibilities as enshrined and guaranteed by the constitution.
“That politicians and relevant stakeholders should at all time engage in issue based discussions and refrain from making inflammatory remarks.
” That INEC leadership must ensure it properly trains its staff ahead of any election and should have handy, functional equipment to prosecute its mandate as an electoral umpire.”
The stakeholders advised politicians to learn to be good sportsmen and develop attitude to accept defeat in good faith.
They also called on Nigerian Youths to properly prepare themselves to take leadership positions and learn to avoid to accept cheap crumbs from politicians, even as they called on government to strive to eliminate hunger from the land and encourage food subsidy for its citizenry.
In his remark, Douglas Baye-Osagie, the Senior Legislative Aide to Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, noted that “money politics is quickly shrinking the nation’s political space.”
Baye-Osagie who decried excessive spending by politicians in election processes, said money politics is fast becoming “a key variable in determining who participates in electoral politics and used to garner votes and voices in Nigeria as godfathers openly confess about purchasing electoral victories.”
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