2015 elections: Group tasks presidential candidates on restructuring
Weary of Nigeria’s current dire economic situation and uncertainty lurking after the polls, a group, South-South, South-East Professionals (SSSEP), has urged the presidential candidates on restructuring of the country to foster unity and peaceful co-existence.
The call was made in Lagos, during the General Assembly of the group, where the state of the nation, vis-à-vis electioneering campaigns, growing fears of post-election violence and the preparedness of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) topped the agenda.
The group emphasised that INEC owes Nigeria a successful, violent-free election and much as each party knows what is expected of them, any candidate who is keen on restructuring the country should give a commitment to the effect.
The professionals opined: “A sincere candidate should commit that he or she will use the first two years to restructure the country. What we expect on Saturday is a referendum on restructuring. This will douse tension in the polity.”
The group advise that Nigerians would cast their votes based on issues and not be swayed by personality attacks that have dominated the political campaigns, adding that though there are fears that there might be political unrest if the election result do not favour some people, everyone should work to ensure that Nigeria remains united.
According to them, “if the election was held in February 14, it would have been a very imperfect election. The distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) was skewed with more than 35 per cent of cards from particular sections of the country were not distributed. As professionals, we hope things do not degenerate due to the issues that resulted from the initial postponement, because it is obvious that INEC wasn’t ready at that time.
The two candidates know that the country is broken as things stand. Whoever wins has the task of restructuring the country. The job is cut out for the winner.
There are critical challenges such as the resolution of the National Conference, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and other issues waiting to be resolved. “We are in for big trouble after Saturday March 28, 2015 considering the way things are in the country and the onus lies on the winner to go to work immediately”.
SSSEP said that Nigeria’s problem is perception as citizens are not divided on religious or ethnic but party lines, noting that each party is taking root in new places, which is cause of jubilation.
On INEC’s level of preparedness, it stressed on the general perception that the results might not be accepted whatever the outcome of the elections, noting that voter education has been abysmal.
With regard to the role of the incumbent in ensuring a free and fair election, it said that the Presidency should ensure that things work as planned, noting that though there are concerns with INEC’s preparedness and overall security of lives and property, no one should allow whatever shortcomings to fail the country.
The professionals tasked government on effective communication within the short time remaining to make sure that essential information is disseminated to the people.
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