Religious leaders in Kogi have warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies not to compromise the Nov.16 governorship election in the state.
The religious leaders who gave the warning in Lokoja on Saturday during a stakeholders’ interactive session said that the rising tension in the state was an indication that all was not well among the people , INEC and security agencies, especially police.
The leaders insisted that the only way to avoid violence during the election was to create a level playing ground for all candidates and for results to reflect the wish of the people.
Bishop John Ubenu, the state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN), said the lukewarm attitude of the group to the election was due to certain things that happened during the last general elections.
” Some of the things that happened during the last elections actually discouraged us but as elders , we have decided to move forward.
” We all know what to do and what to say, but the problem is with the implementation ,” Ubenu said.
He said that CAN deployed observers to monitor the elections but expressed shock that those trained by the commission to conduct the last general elections were replaced.
He also expressed displeasure that the INEC staff were yet to master the operation of the card reader machine, describing the development as unfortunate.
The clergyman said that the biggest problem facing election in Nigeria today was at the collation centres where he said INEC staff and security agents see ” elections not as a national issue but pocket issue.”
He said that Nigeria was ripe for electronic voting, urging the the National Assembly to work toward realising it.
The state Chairman of the Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), Amb. Usman Bello, said that the success of the coming election depended on INEC, police and the political parties.
Bello said that the only way to avoid violence in the election was to ensure justice, fairness and creation of a level playing ground for all parties.
He charged government to rise up to its responsibility of providing security for the people and work for peace on the election day.