Civil Society Organisation, Centre for Liberty, CFL, yesterday hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over conduct of the Edo State governorship election held on Saturday.
The commendation was made in a statement signed by co-conveners of CFL, Ariyo Dare Atoye and Adebayo Raphael, where they pointed out that initially there were issues of violence in 13 out of the 18 local government areas during the pre-election campaigns in the state.
The statement reads in part, “On Saturday, September 19, 2020, the good people of Edo State went to the polls to exercise their democratic right to vote, and did so peacefully and commendably. Despite the unfortunate flashes of violence in 13 of the 18 local government areas in the state during pre-election campaigns, the election was conducted in a mostly civilised and less disruptive manner across the state. This is highly commendable.
“CFL equally commends the general conduct of the various stakeholders in the election; from the permanent and ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to the various security agencies that participated in the election — especially the Nigerian Police Force for their vigilance and professionalism, the local and international election observers, and also the political actors and civil society organizations.
“Although the election was mostly peaceful and free of disorder, there were reports and cases of overzealous loyalists of some political parties who tried to scuttle the election and create confusion. We believe that INEC and the Nigerian Police will do well to deal with the culprits as legally provided in the present Electoral Act, so as to continue to deter potential election disrupters from indulging in this ignoble act.”
CFL also commended the Oba of Benin over the peace initiative he spear-headed with concern for a peaceful electoral atmosphere in order not to jeopardize the lives of the people, which also inspired the National Peace Committee to follow suit.
Meanwhile, the group called on traditional rulers across the country to be neutral in election matters but to be committed to the peace process for a free, fair and credible election.
It also urged traditional rulers to be part of the demand for electoral reforms ahead of the 2023 general election.
“The role of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II in the just-concluded governorship election in Edo inspires us to appeal to Royal Fathers across the country to demonstrate their commitment to peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria by demanding electoral reforms in the country,” it declared.
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