We must make our elections civil – INEC

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By Angela Atabo
Abuja, Sep.17, 2020 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said there is the need for Nigeria to make elections a civic responsibility instead of imbuing violence and thuggery into the process.
Mr Festys Okoye , National Commissioner in Charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC made this known on Thursday when he featured in newsmen forum in Abuja.
Okoye said that the position of the commission was that the conduct of election should be an ordinary civic responsibility where everyone would trust the process just like in order climes.
He explained that in other countries even in Africa, safety and transportation of election materials were not things of worry.
Okoye said that results collated at registration units for transportation to mega collation centres were done without fear of any possible hijack.
He said that in Nigeria, however, the movement of materials from the central bank to the local governments, to registration centres was always under heavy security and everything is conducted under a war-like situation.
“So, I think that we must find ways and means of making elections an ordinary civic responsibility, and not that the whole world would gather, getting the political parties to sign a peace accord that they are going to maintain the peace.
“We must make violence and violent conduct unattractive; people must be made to understand that there must be other ways of earning a living other than through violence.
“The political parties must also commit to the fact that people can only get to power through the votes of the people and through the sovereign power of the people expressed through their votes.’’
“The moment people get to power through other means, it becomes a coup d’état, because the constitution says that nobody, no individual, no institution and no group is permitted to take over the reins of power in the country, other than through democratic means.’’
Okoye said that those who take power through means that were not democratic have violated the provisions of the constitution because they took power through means other than as expressed in the constitution.
He said with this in mind, the issue of getting people to sign peace accord during elections should not arise if everyone would imbibe the democratic spirit.

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