Don’t fail Nigerians– NGE urges INEC, security agencies, others
The Nigerian Guild of Editors has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver on its promises to conduct successful polls.
This is contained in a communique signed by NGE President, Mustpha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, at the end of a meeting of its Standing Committee in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The guild body also called on the security agencies and other stakeholders to live up to expectations in ensuring that the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for Feb. 25, and the governorship/states Houses of Assembly polls slated for March 11 turn out successful.
”Nigerians desire that their votes will count and we’re expectant of free, fair and credible elections, devoid of violence.
“We call on the INEC to make good its promise of early deployment of electoral materials to polling units on election days and ensure its personnel, in their conduct, do not deviate from provisions of the Electoral Act and other laws guiding the elections.
“The NGE notes that all eyes will be on the operation of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and urges the electoral body to ensure that the devices are in top shape, to perform optimally and actualise the intended purpose of their introduction during the elections,” the guild said.
The editors also called on the electoral body to ensure the secrecy of ballots, by ensuring that its cubicles were well positioned to achieve this and cameras being kept away by voters while voting.
The guild noted the important role of the security agencies in achieving free, fair and credible elections.
The editors urged th security agencies to be unbiased and ensure that voters were able to exercise their franchise freely in a peaceful atmosphere devoid of intimidation.
The guild also urged the security agencies to be on the lookout for vote buyers with a view to apprehending and prosecuting offenders.
The editors advised operatives of various security agencies to provide adequate security for electoral officials and materials.
They also expressed concerns over the activities of some political parties since the commencement of the ongoing campaigns.
The NGE advised political parties and their candidates to play by the rules and impress on their supporters the need to avoid violence before, during and after the polls.
“We call on politicians to let their party manifestos and campaign promises guide the electorate in making their choices, and to avoid inducing voters through vote buying.
“The guild calls on the electorate to come out to perform their civic rights by speaking with their votes on election days and to avoid voter apathy,” the communique added.
Observing that the media have a role to play in ensuring free and fair elections, the NGE urged the media to be professional in their reportage and ensure proper fact checking before publication of reports.
The editors also called on all stakeholders, including Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), local and international election monitors/observers to play their roles within the ambit of the law in ensuring that the nation has yet another successful elections and transition.,
The guild also noted the current challenges over the cashless policy and advised the government, especially the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to address all challenges capable of affecting the conduct of the general elections.
The editors appreciated the Ogun State government for providing an atmosphere conducive for the Standing Committee meeting to hold in the state.
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