Monday, 4th December 2023

Jega, Gambari, Onaiyekan, others raise concern over 2019 election

By Kingsley Jeremiah (Abuja) and Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Benin City)
06 April 2018   |   4:27 am
Former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, former Minister of Foreign...

Former INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega

Okoh tasks government on citizens’ security, credible polls
Former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and stakeholders from civil society organisations yesterday in Abuja expressed concern over the nation’s 2019 election and disturbances across the country.

The stakeholders were worried that the atmosphere of do or die politics and weak electoral institutions could affect the forthcoming election.

At a consultative meeting championed by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), West Africa Network for Peace (WANEP) and Working Group on Peace and Good Governance, the elder statesmen also expressed deep concern over the growing insecurity across the country.

Jega said whilst there was need to stop the politics of brinkmanship in the country, the desire by politicians to get to power by all means must be tamed.

He called on Nigerians, especially civil society organisations to rise up against excesses of politicians and demand strong policies that would address pre and post election issues.

He said political parties must be forced to sign peace deals and a code of conduct that would enable the populace name and shame offenders.

Onaiyekan raised concern over growing fake news in the country, stating that the situation may worsen the current state of affairs in the country.

The bishop decried that Nigerians are gradually losing the ability to reason critically by giving in to information and images that are not verifiable.

Gambari said Nigeria is not facing democratic problem but challenges bothering on religious and communal violence, widespread corruption, and an excessive presidentialism amidst enduring poverty, unsustainable levels of unemployment among the youth, growing inequality, an eroded state-society compact, and threats to the unity and secularity of the state.

Meanwhile, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh yesterday tasked the Federal Government on security for its citizens against all forms of attacks on credible elections in 2019.

Okoh, in Benin City, at the consecration of four new bishops at the St Matthews Cathedral, said it is the responsibility of government to provide security for the people but that the realities indicate that government is not doing enough.

“Maybe they are doing it but they are not doing it comprehensively, they should show more interest because there is a lot of hue and cry here and there. Christians don’t have anything to do with herdsmen, infact they are the victims, they are victims of herdsmen attacks in the nature of things, citizens don’t control the weapons of war, so the responsibility of protecting the citizenry is that of the government, if they don’t do it, they have failed in their leadership, if they do it, then they have succeeded.’’

On the coming 2019 elections, Okoh said the church has been preaching that things should go well, “that people should not kill people, that elections should be free and fair, that justice should prevail.