Sultan, peace panel task foreign observers on objectivity
FEW days to the presidential elections, the and the National Peace Committee (NPC), have urged independent and foreign observers to remain impartial as they perform their duties at the polls.
The Sultan, who said this yesterday in Abuja at a meeting held by the NPC with all the observer missions, urged them to perform their duties creditably well in a way that will only promote credible, free, fair and peaceful elections.
“We believe you will make your own contribution creditably well and impartial in order for us to achieve peaceful and credible elections”, he said, adding that Nigerians love their country more than people from outside the nation, “that’s why we are working with you because we know you can help us.”
Speaking on the overview of the work of the NPC, the Sultan stated that the committee has since been working with the Nigerian people and visiting the grassroots to sensitise them about the need for credible elections come March 28 and April 11. “It’s a continuous process to have peace so we can have development. There must be a country first before we have leaders,” he said.
He added that the committee has so far met with religious leaders and has been working with security agencies.
Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Dr. Yunusa Tanko used the occasion to clarify issues of concern about the card readers and the permanent voter card. He explained that the technology is supposed to perform four functions; to identify and get the data of voters, to get the statistics of the accreditation and voting exercises, to confirm that the voter’s card is genuine and to confirm the fingerprint of the voter.
“The card readers performed three of the four functions at 100 per cent. The fourth one it performed at 60 per cent in some areas. Our conclusion, from my interaction with INEC is that once the first three functions is confirmed, the voter will be allowed to vote,” he said.
It would be recalled that the National Peace Committee has General Abdulsalam Abubakar as its chairman, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe as its deputy chairman while other members include John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, Alhaji Muhammad Musdafa, Archbishop Nicolas Okoh, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Justice Rose Ukeje, Aliko Dangote and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah among others.
Currently, some of the foreign election monitors in the country include Election Observer Missions (EOM) from ECOWAS, African Union, European Union and the Commonwealth.
The ECOWAS EOM consists of over 250 monitors led by former president of Ghana, John Kufuor; The African Union team consists of 84 persons from across Africa led by former president of Liberia, Dr. Amos Sawyer; The European Union team consists of 90 observers led by Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Member of the European Parliament from Spain. The Commonwealth team has 10 observers who are led by former president of Malawi, Dr. Bakili Muluzi.