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2023: Sultan, CAN president call for peaceful, credible elections

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
07 December 2022   |   5:40 am
Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III and the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, have called on Independent National Electoral Commission ...

Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto

Urge INEC, security agencies to be impartial

Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III and the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, have called on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to be impartial and ensure a free, fair and credible elections in 2023.

Speaking at the 4th Quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), with the theme, ‘Peaceful and Credible Elections for National Renaissance,’ yesterday, in Abuja, the religious leaders observed that the role of INEC and security agencies are fundamental to ensuring a hitch-free elections acceptable by all standards.

The Sultan, who said polls are supposed to bring new hope, wondered if the 2023 exercise bears optimism for the country, on account of ethnic and religious propaganda.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has assured of his determination to ensure peaceful, credible and free elections, noting: “He has given his words to the country and the international community. He won’t be everywhere. But we are the eyes and the ears of the President. We have to talk to him when things are not going right. He has assured of credible elections. Let’s have hope; let’s believe him. But if some people do one or two things at his back, the Almighty God will still hold him accountable.

“The role of INEC and security agencies is very critical. They must be honest and impartial. How many INEC offices have been burnt in the southeast? Won’t this affect the election? INEC needs to be impartial and ensure that the general election is free and fair. We are going to bring the security chiefs to a meeting before the elections to discuss people’s apprehensions and fears.”

The Sultan, however, dismissed predictions by Western countries that the election will break or make Nigeria.

He said: “We should not play into the hands of those enemies of Nigeria who keep on bringing up such issues against the election, that it will decide the fate of this country. Only God can decide the fate of this country. Let us go out and campaign peacefully. And on the day of the election, we will elect who we think is the best for us and leave the rest to God.”

On his part, Co-Chairman of NIREC and President of CAN, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, said the 2023 general elections hold the key to national renaissance, freedom from insecurity, economic subjugation and social vices that have dotted Nigeria’s ugly past.

He noted that CAN is already making plans to deploy electoral observers at major polling units across states to observe the elections, adding that reports and findings will be made known to the public.

He added: “We must shun all tendencies that could aggravate whatever challenges we might be experiencing at the moment. The election of 2023 is a valid opportunity for Nigeria to turn around fortunes of this country. It is important that we use our leadership positions to mobilise our members to come out on the days of election to vote candidates that can bring healthy balance in governance, which will restore the confidence of the people in government.”