Don’t be discouraged, vote candidates of your choice ― Igbo Elders tell Nigerians
Igbo Elders, under the auspices of Igbo Patriotic Forum (IPF), have urged Nigerians to come out and vote for governors and State Houses of Assembly members of their choice on Saturday, 11th March 2023.
IPF, while lamenting that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disappointed many Nigerians despite their assurance for a transparent poll, told Nigerians, especially those in the South East to ensure the exercise of their franchise during the Saturday election.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Chairman of IPF, Chief Simon Okeke, has acknowledged reports from across the country that indicated that the INEC failed to live up to expectations at the last Presidential election.
He said despite all the promises made by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and other officials of the electoral umpire, there was wide range of malpractices recorded during the election.
“With a heavy heart, we acknowledge that reports from various parts of the country indicate that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has woefully failed to live up to its expectations despite repeated assurances of its Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, and other officers that the Commission was ready to conduct free, fair, and credible elections in the country without any hitches whatsoever.
“As you all know, the essence of the Electoral Act of 2022 is to electronically transmit the result of votes obtained from the polling units directly to the INEC Central Server using BVAS to avoid any manipulations which were rampant by use of incident forms in the previous elections.
“We were informed that the Federal Government provided the humongous budget demanded by the INEC to procure the BVAS to make this election free and fair if only to avoid any excuses. At the end of the day that same machine could not work at the critical time it was supposed to work!
“Unfortunately, we now have to wait for the courts to determine the actual winner of this election.
“Nevertheless, we still call upon the good people of this country, the youths and elders, to remain calm and law-abiding as this process progresses. “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
“This, we believe, will be the testimony of all those that came out in their droves to vote for a competent and strong principled leadership at the just concluded elections.
“It is only in Nigeria that this has ever happened! Despite this monumental fraud, we should not lose hope since we are on the road to seeking justice in the Courts. We pray that God will give our judiciary the courage to uphold justice and truth in deciding this
“Having said this, we wish to call upon our people again to come out on Saturday, March 11th, and exercise their legitimate right to vote for the candidates of their choice at the forthcoming gubernatorial and state houses of assembly election”, he said.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for a hitch-free election in the South East, IPF urged him to support the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force to re-open police stations across the South East which have been closed for over 3 years.
“This has led to increased insecurity in that zone, leading to people obeying a senseless sit-at-home out of sheer fear,” Okeke said.