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AU’s ECOSOCC seeks support for electoral umpire over shifting of polls


Group cautions political parties, others against inciting comments
The African Union (AU)’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC), has called on Nigerians to remain calm, exercise restraint and support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair and credible elections.

It said rather than castigate INEC over the postponement, Nigerians should support the commission to ensure that it conducts elections that would send serious democratic lessons to other AU member states to emulate.

A statement issued by its Head of Media and Public Relations, Oba Olasunkanmi John, in Abuja noted that the world was watching Nigeria during the elections, “hence we need to encourage the commission so that the world will know that democracy has come of age in Nigeria through the election.”It commended INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for taking proactive steps to avert staggered elections that may give room to suspicion and legal logjams and assured the commission of its constant support.

“We read with concern several insinuations and blame game in the media on the postponement and wish to caution that all stakeholders should exercise restraint and rather channel their efforts at assisting the commission to conduct credible polls.“We must understand that our words at this time would go a long way to either make or mar the process and endanger the peace of Nigeria and Africa at large. Stakeholders must, therefore, watch comments that may hamper the process,” it stated.

AU ECOSOCC Nigeria and the People Centre Assembly of the AU also commended international and domestic observers for their roles, especially in mobilisation and financial support toward credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, a Southwest socio-cultural group, Yoruba Ronu Forum, has cautioned leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other stakeholders to exercise restraint in their comments against INEC’s postponement of the polls.

The group said political actors should check their facts before crucifying INEC.In a statement, its Secretary General, Akin Malaolu, said although the group was not happy over the development, the hasty judgement being passed on the umpire was unfortunate.

He faulted the two major parties, saying their leaderships reacted without adequate knowledge of the reasons behind the sudden postponement of the exercise. “Leaders must show restraints and be equipped first by finding out the reasons for the postponement before passing inciting comments on matters of national and international importance,” it added.

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