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Catholic bishops urge Jonathan, Buhari to accept results

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Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama,

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama,

 

 Akume warns politicians against using polls to cause division

 Ladoja calls for cancellation of election in Oyo

THE Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has called on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) to accept the results as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and make no recourse to violence if it is found unacceptable.
The conference also urged the two parties to enjoin their followers to keep the peace in the overall interest of country.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, President of the CBCN, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, who called on the security forces to be at alert and contain any post-election violence, and to be holistic in their approach to security by ensuring that in their attempt to prevent post-election violence, they do not leave the space open for sustained renewed attacks by Boko Haram.

In the same vein, Senate Minority Leader and former Governor of Benue State, Dr. George Akume, has cautioned Nigerian politicians against allowing elections to cause division in the country.

Akume, who made this remark yesterday at the INEC headquarters after holding a brief meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Makurdi, the Senate Minority Leader appealed to candidates of all political parties to be ready to accept defeat should they lose at the end of the day, adding that the state has had enough electoral violence in the past.

He said: “We have all agreed that as brothers, we will all accept defeats should we lose at the end of the day. Over the years, we have had too many election violence in the state and we lost a lot from the process. Election should not divide us as a people. It is a process by which the people elect their leaders and nothing more, it is not a do-or-die affair.”

Also speaking, Governor Gabriel Suswam expressed disgust on the manner his co-contestant, Senator Barnabas Gemade was parading himself as the winner of Benue North-East Senatorial District.
In another development, the Accord Party (AP) governorship candidate in Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, has called for the cancellation of last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.

Ladoja, who described the election as an exercise that had been designed to fail by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), said the plethora of lapses experienced during the polls made it the worst ever conducted in the state, adding that it is sad polling booth elections ran into midnight without lightings because the exercise started late.

Suswam, who said Gemade’s action was a violation of the electoral laws by declaring self before the media as the winner of the election when the INEC was yet to do so, commended the people of the state for the peaceful conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections and urged them to accept the results as announced by the electoral body in good faith.

Kaigama, who congratulated Nigerians for generally conducting themselves peacefully during the elections for their patience and resilience even into the next day, expressed optimism that the result will reflect the true choices Nigerians have made, adding: “We use this opportunity to counsel all parties concerned with the collation of results to allow for the sovereignty of the people as expressed in the ballot box.”

The Archbishop, who noted that preliminary observations based on reports from CBNC observers indicate that due to logistic challenges, many observers reported late start of the accreditation process by INEC, said that while card readers gave so much promise before the elections, there appears to have been a general challenge with them.

He said: “For instance in Nsukka, as reported by our observers, the situation with the card readers was so bad that many polling agents altogether abandoned them and resorted to manual identification of voters in the register as later directed by INEC. We call on INEC to properly investigate what really happened after all the assurances given about the card readers.

“In some states, there were serious breaches of the electoral process with the possible collusion of law enforcement officials. In certain cases, no elections took place at all at some polling units, while at least one polling unit was reported for thump printing in Akwa Ibom State with the aid of a security official. We hope that there will be significant improvement in the next election and some culprits would be brought to book as deterrent to others.

“We were hoping that the use of smart card readers would render useless ballot stuffing and ballot box snatching. We express serious concern about what will likely happen in Rivers State with regards to the gubernatorial elections where the stakes seem higher. We call on security authorities to evolve a special security plan for Rivers State.”

He prayed God to spare Nigeria and make us come out of these elections a better, prosperous and secure nation.
Ladoja, who further said that in most polling booths where accreditation were concluded early, voting didn’t start until 7:00 p.m. because of late arrival of ballot papers, noted that security for the elections was not adequate as some candidates led thugs to beat party agents at collation centres.



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