~ Says tampering with independence of INEC may constitute risk to pubic safety
Adamawa State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for calm as the state awaits the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the guvernorship rerun election.
Addressing newsmen in Yola on Sunday, Adamawa state chairman of CAN who is also the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Most Rev. Dami Mamza, called on all stakeholders to put hands on deck to ensure a hitch free completion of the electoral process.
Recall that INEC has declared the guvernorship election of 18 March, 2023 inconclusive on the grounds that the cancelled votes in some polling units are significant enough to change the outcome of the election.
He noted that CAN has made tremendous efforts to ensure a peaceful election in the build up to the 2023 general polls through mass mobilization and sensitization of its members especially with the promises made by INEC that it will conduct a free and fair polls.
“After the elections that took place on February 25 in all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT, we as citizens went out again to the polls for the election of Governors and Members of the State Houses of Assembly in twenty-eight (28) states across the country on March 18.
“This was in spite of the outcome of the presidential and national assembly elections which was generally described by local, national and international organisations as lacking transparency and heavily characterised by operational failures.
“However, recall that as Christian leaders in the state, we hinged our strength and trust on the promise made by the electoral body for a free, fair and credible polls this 2023. Consequently, we made massive mobilization in the state for you our good people of Adamawa to come out and exercise your franchise since it will not be business as usual. A feat we did carry out with a sense of religious commitment and emancipation,” he said.
Mamza noted that while CAN observed the irregularities noted in the collation and tabulation of results during the March 18 polls, it called on all stakeholders to ensure that order is restored while a great deal of transparency should be injected into the process.
“While we are concerned about some of the irregularities noticed in the collation and tabulation of results during the March 18 polls in the state, let us not forget that both INEC, we the electorates, members of diplomatic community, local, national and international observers, law enforcement agencies and the media, are all stakeholders in whatever it takes to have good, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
“No one should therefore infringe on the independence of INEC as this will pose a risk to public safety. We therefore call on all to remain calm and to renew their confidence on INEC’s independence and
professionalism for openness, transparency and fairness in handling of the votes of the electorates as we set to go for a re-run. We are also calling with a strong voice on both the law enforcement agencies and the media not to allow institutional pressure and interference affect them as they try to give an unbiased and extensive security coverage of the process of voting, collation and tabulation of results,” he added.
The chairman of CAN also called on politicians to play by the rules of the game and avoid overheating the system unnecessarily for peace and harmony to prevail in the state.
“May we finally appeal to politicians to keep all political activity and exchange civil so as to enable an atmosphere of tolerance and respect to flourish in the state. We equally call on all citizens, especially community and religious leaders and the youth to continue to be law-abiding.
“We as good people of Adamawa will continue to commit ourselves to every cause that will promote the common good of all and shun whatever will bring dishonour to our state. As we remain prayerful and hopeful that all shall be well, we still pray that INEC will strengthen our confidence in them through their openness, transparency and fairness. It is our desire and strong wish that the entire electoral process will be credible and thus respect the will of the people of Adamawa State,” he noted.