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Ahead of the forthcoming general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and South-west stakeholders have met to deliberate on how election processes will be free, fair and credible across all south-west states.
The meeting organized by United Nations Development Programme, tagged “High-level Stakeholder’s dialogue on peaceful and violence-free general elections” was reported to be a strategic plan on how to make Southwest states peaceful for Nigerians during and after the election period.
Speaking at the meeting held in Akure, the capital of Ondo State, Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege said, the meeting is to ensure free, fair and credible elections across all south-west states.
Obalanlege added that leaders in the south-west region in collaboration with the electoral commission and security agencies are coming up with security measures in other to ensure free and credible elections across the country.
The royal father also charged the Independent National Electoral Commission to be truthful throughout the election processes in other to gain the confidence of the electorates.
He further said that criminals standing trial on cases such as cocaine, armed robbery and other civil cases should not be accredited to participate in election posts.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Alayemore of Ido-Osun, Oba Aderemi Adedapo, reiterated that the organizers of the meeting have shown their commitment to ensuring free, fair and credible elections in the country.
Oba Adedapo boasted that the forthcoming general elections in South-west states will be peaceful and credible, saying the strategic meeting provides that all stakeholders must play an active role in ensuring peace reign across their region.
He also advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be transparent in the forthcoming elections.
A consultant to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Emmanuel Mamman said, southwest is a politically focused region due to the level of education.
However, Mamman called for a standard education system across the country, adding that application of the principles of democracy will lead Nigeria to a better level.
The chairman, Africa Centre for Corporate Responsibility, Dr Austin Onuoha, who spoke as the guest speaker of the meeting stressed that it is high time Nigeria criminalize electoral offences.
He said corrupt politicians should be banned from contesting for any position in election processes in Nigerians as stipulated by law.
“If you have stolen public money, you should not be participating in politics and no party must allow you to flag its banner.
“One of the major challenges facing the electoral processes in Nigeria is the failure of abiding by the rules and regulations of the country,” He said.
However, the UNDP’s Workshop was attended by representatives of traditional rulers, security agencies, the media, civil society organization, National Council of Women Society, INEC, Federal Ministry of Budget and National planning amongst others.