Nigeria governors warn security agencies against bias, ask Nigerians to defend their votes

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to investigate and prosecute anyone caught sabotaging or violating the electoral process, no matter how highly placed, during the April 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections.

It also asked the nation’s security agencies to perform their duties professionally and refused to be used to manipulate the electoral process.

The Forum also urged Nigerians to troop out en masse to vote for candidates of their choice while also defending their votes.

The Forum, which stated this in a statement by its Director General, Asishana Okauru, asked INEC to improve on its performance in last Saturday’s election.

It said although there were complaints here and there, local and international observers rated the last elections as largely free and fair.

It said the exercise is a huge progress for Nigeria and its electoral system.

“We expect that the Governorship and State Assembly elections will be even better, with INEC correcting the lapses observed in the March 28 elections,” the forum said.

“The logistics of distributing sensitive election materials should be perfected. Steps should be taken to ensure card readers work smoothly while ballot snatching and other forms of electoral fraud should be blocked.

“INEC should ensure that anyone caught sabotaging or violating the electoral process, no matter how highly placed, are investigated and prosecuted.”

The Forum urged the security agencies being deployed for the election to carry out their duties professionally and in line with the Constitution and should not allow themselves to be used by politicians to intimidate voters or perpetrate electoral fraud.

It said, “We expect that heads of security agencies will investigate complaints across the country, that during the presidential and national assembly elections, some personnel colluded with unscrupulous politicians to engage in malpractices.

“Heads of security agencies should re-orientate their personnel to shun partisanship and discharge their responsibilities on Election Day in line with global best practices.”

The Forum also admonished politicians from all political parties to abide by the rules and refrain from any action capable of undermining the electoral process or plunging Nigeria into crisis.

“We urge eventual winners of the elections to be magnanimous in victory while losers should take a cue from our President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship. Nigeria is bigger than any one of its citizens,” it said.

It also called on the electorate to come out en masse on Saturday to vote for candidates of their choice.

It reminded Nigerians that states are closer to the people in terms of governance, adding “this is definitely a very important election”.

The Forum added, “The decisions we make on Election Day will affect how much progress and development our states experience in the next four years and beyond.

“We urge all voters to be law-abiding, cast their votes and ensure their votes count. We wish everyone well on Election Day and after.”

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