Ahead of Saturday’s Presidential and national Assembly elections, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) and the Centre for Policy Advocacy and Leadership Development (CPALD) have urged Nigerians to shun violence and apathy but conduct themselves orderly for the success of the elections.
In separate statements in Abuja, CDD Director Idayat Hassan, CPALD director of communication Tunde Salman and YIAGA’s program manager Cynthia Mbamalu were unanimous in urging Nigerians to put the nation’s interest first above personal interests.
Hassan noted that the competitive nature of elections in Nigeria and the high stakes across the country have created an unnecessary atmosphere of fear and anxiety.
“The CDD welcomes the decision of the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba to allow voters to remain close to the polling booths until votes are counted and results released. CDD calls on all security agencies to be professional and neutral in the discharge of their duties during the elections.
“CDD applauds the joint statement issued by President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday 26 March 2015 to restrain their supporters from engaging in acts of violence and to respect the outcome of free, fair and credible elections. CDD urges them to go a step further by addressing their supporters directly to refrain from all acts of violence before, during and after the elections,” she said.
She also said her organisation has set up an Analysis Centre to aggregate real-time updates from field observers and monitor developments during the entire electioneering process and would be manned by renowned legal, political, conflict, and election analysts.
On his part Salman emphasised the need to eschew violence on the day and after the elections.
“We urge all the electorates to go out to vote for candidates of their choice and shun conduct inimical to peaceful elections before, during and after the polls,” he said.
He therefore urge all election stakeholders including INEC, security agencies, media, and political parties and their supporters to conduct themselves with highest level of professionalism and decorum.
Also Mbamalu said her organisation has launched a platform tagged, #Thumbpower to “inspire Nigerians especially young people to activate the power of their thumb by voting peacefully on March 28th and April 11th. The Thumb power project will bridge the knowledge on the new voting procedure introduced by the electoral commission.”