An Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to uphold democracy and be upright to redeem its credibility ahead of the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections scheduled to hold today.
The group said this in a statement signed by its Deputy Publicity Secretary, Collins Ugwu, and the Secretary-General, Barr. Mark Nduka-Eze, on Friday.
The presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25 were marred with irregularities, late arrival of election materials in some polling units, violence, amongst others
“We call on INEC to uphold democracy today and remove the stigma of being its undertaker rather. You must be transparent, you must be impartial, and you must follow our laws to give Nigerians the desires of their votes without compromise or theatre.
We demand that INEC should today, unreservedly regenerate the confidence of Nigerians whose unprecedented energy and legitimate expectations for free, credible and transparent elections, before and during the presidential elections was savaged by a cocktail of institutional 'errors' and scandalously unprotected ballots, contrary to their strident but now clearly overrated assurances,” the group said.
It added that INEC needed to be in alliance with all Nigerians, who are determined and energised to end the era of corrupt practices and bad governance in the country.
The group said Nigerians must be respected and should never be criminalised, commercialised, or battered in the process of exercising their franchise peacefully.
While chiding the security agencies over their failure to provide adequate security in the last presidential election, it advised them to “please give Nigerians protection for at least one day to do a simple election.”
According to the group, flaws recorded in the February 25 elections could soil the country’s democracy.
The group, however, implored Nigerians to exercise their franchise dutifully.
It noted that the electoral umpire and security operatives should ensure they adhere to their responsibilities to safeguard the country’s democracy.
We must note that Nigeria has paid a huge prize for corporate nationhood in the war we fought, and insurgencies we are still trying to contain. Nigeria paid a prize for military dictatorship, and we are still reeling from the pangs. Nigerians now have chosen democracy and INEC and our security formations must not be complicit to make us lose it.”