AHEAD of 2015 general elections, the Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has said, credible elections can be conducted with the active participation of Nigerians.
Governor Uduaghan who stated this on Monday, February 25, 2014 at a seminar organized by the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Asaba said political parties rather than apportion blames on the electoral umpires, they should be actively involved towards ensuring credible elections in the country.
He decried a situation where political parties prepare for violence and post-electoral litigations rather than mobilizing the electorate to win elections , asserting: “I see INEC as committed to carrying out a credible elections in Nigeria and I think we should support the electoral body.”
“We all have a role to play for us to have credible elections,” Governor Uduaghan said, adding, “there are people who from the day the dates of elections are announced, instead of selling themselves to the electorate to enable them be popular, they start writing petitions ahead of the elections and be preparing for violence.”
He reiterated: “Elections are grassroots based, we must all prepare for elections, we must not put the blames on electoral umpires, we must be good winners and good losers, we have to work towards credible elections so that the whole world will have trust in our electoral system.”
“We the people and the political parties must take responsibility for the outcome of any elections, we must prepare for elections and not blame INEC or DSIEC for our failings in elections”, he added
Dr Uduaghan observed that one of the greatest challenges of INEC was the use of ad-hoc staff who after one election may not be available in subsequent elections thereby the experience garnered is wasted.
“A credible election does not lie solely with the chairman and staff of INEC or chairman and staff of DSIEC because in Delta State, we have credible people in DSIEC which is legally authorized to announce the dates for local government elections,” the Governor said, emphasizing, “it is not my duty to announce the dates for local government elections, we as government too, cannot interfere with the work of DSIEC, I urge all aspirants to go into the field to campaign to the electorates and win their votes rather than prepare for violence during elections.”
The Governor added, “Nobody attains an office through violence, you can only attain an office through the people’s vote in a democracy.”
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jegga in a keynote address said, voters must have confidence in the ballot box and participate actively in the electoral process, disclosing that the INEC will “continue to provide a level playing field for all candidates and political parties.”
The Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei called on electoral bodies to be seen as being above board in the conduct of elections while the chairman of the occasion, Justice James Omo-Agege (rtd.) called on government to give the states’ electoral commissions all the tools they need to perform their duties.
Earlier the chairman of DSIEC, Mr. Moses Ogbe said the seminar which had, ‘Building Confidence in the Electoral System: The Task before DSIEC’ as its theme was necessary in preparation for the conduct of local government elections that will restore the people’s confidence in the ballot box.
He disclosed that the Commission has established a Newsletter and a website to ensure free flow of information with the public.