The Christian Association of Nigeria, on Tuesday, expressed concern over the tense political atmosphere in the country, calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that the will of the people prevail.
According to CAN, despite the many assurances given by INEC about its level of preparedness for this year’s general election, the exercise fell below the “reasonable expectations” of the people.
The President of CAN, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, expressed this view in a statement titled, “Elections: CAN appeals for calm, demands responsible action from INEC, others.”
The statement reads, “The national leadership of CAN has noted with deep concern the recent developments in the country following the February 25, presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Elections are vital for our country’s stability and democratic consolidation, and so the process must be conducted and concluded safely, fairly and credibly.
“For this reason, we urge political parties, candidates, supporters and the public to desist from any action that could create needless tension or stoke any form of violence that could put the country on a precipice.
“CAN specifically asks all presidential candidates to abide by the spirit and letter of the Peace Accord they signed before the elections. We remind them that this is the only country we have, and we must do everything to keep it safe, united and peaceful.
“In the same breath, we encourage all political actors, elder statesmen, eminent personalities in our society as well as religious and traditional leaders to make proactive interventions to calm any tension and nip signs of violence in the bud.
“We equally ask the Independent National Electoral Commission to do all within its scope of authority to ensure that the will of the people, as expressed through the ballots during last Saturday’s presidential and federal legislative elections, count.”
The Christian body noted that the ideal thing was that after an election, votes were counted and the result is transparently announced.
“Anything short of that, remains an aberration in any democratic context and contest,” it said.
According to CAN, despite the many assurances given by INEC about its level of preparedness for the polls, last Saturday’s elections fell below expectations as it was characterised by “late arrival of election materials in parts of the country, malfunction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines, failure of the planned electronic transmission of results to the virtual results viewing portal amid other structural challenges in the electoral process.”
It said these lapses “have not only cast a shadow of doubt on INEC’s sincerity to deliver a transparent and fair general election this year, but also threaten the credibility of the entire system.”
CAN, therefore, call on INEC to “rise to the occasion in the face of this precarious situation and do everything possible to win back the slipping confidence of the people in the electoral system, especially as the country prepares for the governorship and state legislative polls in 11 days time.”