A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has called on the U. S. and other international communities to assist Nigeria in ensuring that the 2019 general elections is free, fair, credible and peaceful.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the group made the call during a peaceful rally to the U.S. Embassy on Friday in Abuja.
The coalition are Concerned Nigerians, Ourmumudondo Movement and the Coalition for the Defence of Democracy in Nigerian Democracy.
Others are Leadership and Accountability Initiative, Mad Connect and the Campaign for Democracy.
According to the group, the rally is part of the initiative aimed at engaging stakeholders, including the diplomatic community to raise genuine interest toward ensuring transparent and peaceful polls come 2019.
Mr Deji Adeyanju, the National Coordinator of Concerned Nigerians, who spoke on behalf of the group said the U.S. should show active concern as a model democratic nation and a stakeholder in global affairs to ensure that Nigeria’s nascent democracy “is not truncated’’.
“Peaceful and credible elections are essential to Nigeria’s development and stability,and that is why we are calling on the international community to come to our aid.
“We are gathered here today to draw the attention of all Nigerians, lovers of democracy and leaders of conscience all over the world, especially the U. S. to the danger electoral malpractices will bring in 2019.
“Nigeria as it stands is in dire need of qualitative leadership at all levels and any attempt to manipulate the electoral system will plunge the nation into serious crisis.
“We therefore call on the U. S. and other partners of Nigeria to put pressure on political players, including INEC to ensure that the next elections are free, fair and credible,” he said.
Adeyanju therefore read out the group’s requests as captioned in a letter to the U.S. President, Donald Trump through its embassy in Abuja.
He expressed fears that vote-buying, if not checked, was capable of posing big threats to credible electioneering process during the next polls.
“We will like to call the attention of the U. S. and its allies to the inhuman and undemocratic scheme of vote-buying that is presently being propagated by politicians across the country.
“We believe that this menace is a major attempt to subvert the will of the electorates by inducing them with money at polling units.
Adeyanju said that security agencies should be made to remain non-partisan to avoid voter apathy during the next elections.
“As we have recently seen in Ekiti, Osun and the recently concluded bye- elections in Kogi, Bauchi and other states, the partisanship of the security agencies is a major concern.
“Security agencies should be advised not to make themselves available for the manipulation of electioneering processes, but should hold on to their constitutional duties of protecting lives and property,” he said.
Mrs Patricia Onoja of the Woman Alive Initiative, expressed worries over insecurity of lives as the general elections drew near, adding that the situation might discourage voters.
“We are afraid that if elections are not free and fair, it may result into crisis, we therefore need help from the world to secure our lives and children.
“This administration came into power through a free and fair elections, we therefore urge him to work toward ensuring that the next general elections are free and fair.