Following the shift in election dates, the United Nations (UN) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have both impressed on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the imperative to ensure that eligible voters in the country get their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) as a prerequisite to participate in the electoral process.
A statement from the UN, noted that its Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, in a telephone conversation with President Goodluck Jonathan urged the electoral authorities to take all necessary measures, such as the rapid distribution of the remaining PVCs, to enable all eligible citizens, including those displaced, to exercise their right to vote in a timely manner.
“This is imperative for ensuring a credible, free and transparent election,” the Secretary-General said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, adding, that “the successful conduct of these polls would strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and enable the country to continue to play a leading role in the promotion of regional peace and security”.
On its part, ECOWAS also encouraged INEC to take advantage of the postponement to complete all pre-election arrangements, particularly the distribution of PVCs in order to ensure free and credible elections.
The regional body in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, also urged Nigerians to respect the postponement of the elections from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11, by INEC, as a result of the security challenges in the country.
“ECOWAS calls on all political actors to respect the decision by INEC and accept it in good faith,” the statement read, and seized the opportunity to encourage all political stakeholders to refrain from any utterances and speeches that may incite their supporters or opponents to violence.
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