Asiodu, others warn against polls’ derailment
A GROUP of 18 eminent Nigerians under the aegis of Initiative for Moral Rectitude in Society (IMRS), led by an elder statesman, Chief Philip Asiodu and Prof. Grace Alele Williams, has called on the Presidency, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties and all other stakeholders to ensure nothing derails the general elections and should hold as scheduled.
The group, which made this clarion call at a press conference in Lagos Wednesday where it expressed worries about the build up to the elections in which political parties had deviated from issue-based to hate-speeches and ostentatious celebration of material wealth, urged the parties to urgently return to the part of noble electioneering by dwelling on issues that are earnestly related to the growth and development of the country and welfare of the people.
Asiodu said: “We again appeal urgently to all political parties to discuss in their campaigns relevant issues, and to propose practicable programmes that will address the severe challenges confronting Nigeria as regards security and stability; effectively combating corruption; ensuring that our nation’s resources are spent cost-effectively to accelerate growth and development and improving the standard of living and quality of life of the vast majority of the masses; and giving priority in the utilisation of our national revenues to education, power, transportation, communications, water supply and public health programmes.
“The political parties must in their campaigns begin to propose the ways of achieving the critically-necessary national re-orientation in order to drastically reduce the pursuit of greed and self-enrichment as the primary purpose of seeking political office. They must begin to look ahead beyond the elections to how to promote national consensus on the measures required to drastically reduce the cost of seeking political office and the cost of governance.”
The group, which also has other prominent Nigerians like former Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Wale Omole; his former colleague at the University of Lagos, Prof. Ayo Ibidapo-Obe, now of Ebonyi State University; Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja, Dr. Gabriel Soyoye, Mrs. Kate Ketosin and Alhaji Shehu Malami, among others, particularly denounced the violence that had continued to greet the campaigns by most of the political parties, saying that this was a blatant violation of the non-violence peace accord the leadership of all the political parties signed in Abuja.
Asiodu, while reminding INEC leadership that it has great national assignment in its hand, further charged both the commission and all security agencies that would offer logistics for the elections to maintain outright neutrality in the conduct of the polls, just as he admonished the electoral body to ensure adequate distribution of all the electoral materials.
He said: “We again urge the military, the police and other security agencies to demonstrate utmost professionalism and neutrality in the discharge of their duties during and after the elections.
“INEC for its part must ensure optimal distribution and collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by eligible voters. They must also ensure that all materials required for the elections at the polling stations are ready and delivered in time for orderly elections. All contestants should bear in mind that whoever wins the election, must earnestly pursue the task of uniting the Nigerian nation to achieve and sustain accelerated progress.”
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