By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The West Africa Elders Forum (WAEF) has called for peaceful, free and fair polling as Nigerians get ready for Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections.
The Forum also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the elections in accordance with the nation’s electoral laws and seek to address the challenges identified by various stakeholders after the February 25 presidential elections, as a means of protecting the integrity of the electoral process.
In a statement jointly signed by leader of WAEF’s 2023 Election Mission to Nigeria and former President of Ghana John Mahama and convener of the Forum, former Nigerian President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on Saturday, 18 March 2023, the elders further charged the security authorities to be alert to their responsibilities and check the unlawful activities of those seeking to disrupt the elections.
Showering praises on Nigerians for their peaceful disposition and faith in the nation’s democracy, WAEF also urged them to be law-abiding and desist from acts that could mar Saturday’s elections and threaten the peace of the country and the sub-region.
The Forum also praised the presidential candidates in the last elections for heeding the elders’ advice to tow the path of peace and follow legal means to address the grievances observed during the last elections.
The statement further said:
“The Forum urges the umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security operatives, and other stakeholders to act in accordance with the laws of the land and exercise their constitutional responsibilities in a manner that will promote peace and protect the integrity of the electoral process.
“There is, therefore, the need for the electoral body to take into account the complaints raised by the different stakeholders, including local and international observers, during the presidential and national assembly elections and make a commitment to resolving those challenges.