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Diaspora group seeks free, fair elections

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The Council of Nigerian Associations Presidents in Australia, the apex leadership forum of Nigerians in the Australian diaspora has told the Federal Government to spare no efforts in ensuring that the forthcoming general election is free and fair.

A statement by CoNAPA on Tuesday noted that the group is politically non-partisan, but retains an overriding interest in the greater good of Nigerians, and the deepening of mutually beneficial bilateral relations between the two great countries.

CoNAPA comprises the leadership of all Nigerian national associations across Australia’s entire states and territories, as such, represents the voice of Nigerian-Australian community leadership and is committed to the welfare of Nigerians in Australia and our ancestral homeland.

The statement noted that even though Nigeria was faced with numerous challenges, a democratic tradition had taken a foothold in the country.

It said the 2023 general election is a pivotal one as Nigerians would go to the polls to keep faith in their cherished democratic ideals of electing leaders through the ballot box.

While commending the President, Major General Muhammad Buhari’s (retd.) firm commitment to free and fair elections, and as widely reported, the group called on Nigerians to participate responsibly in the democratic process.

The statement read in part, “As an organisation that thrives in a functional democracy and believes in the unity and progress of Nigeria through democratic means, we call on Nigerians to match President Buhari’s avowed commitment to a free and fair election by eschewing any undemocratic conduct that may undermine the elections.

“We call on the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure a level playing field and ensure the elections are secure, free, fair and credibly conducted. Nigerians must be able to make their choice in the ballot box, free of any fear or intimidation and we call on the security agencies to place the interest of the country over and above all other considerations.”

The statement further stated that as part of western liberal democracy, the group is proud of the Australian Government’s enduring commitment to the deepening of democratic ideals around the world and also called on the Australian Government to send election observers to monitor the elections in Nigeria.

“Our call is predicated on the firm belief that a democratic, stable and prosperous Nigeria (the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa) is of strategic importance to Australia,” the statement added.

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