By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The Chairman of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), Mr. Babatunde Osibodu on Friday said for any election to be credible, all stakeholders must play their roles as stipulated by law.
Osibodu, who said this at the second stakeholders’ meeting held in preparation for the forthcoming local government elections in Ogun State, said the commission is fully ready to conduct free, fair, and credible elections in July this year.
He disclosed that the Commission has understudied the Local Government elections in some states, with the view to avoid loopholes and errors, urging political parties, religious leaders, and all stakeholders to play their parts accordingly.
According to him, “In our drive to ensure that the Commission conduct an election devoid of violence and chaos, we have been to other states to witness how they conducted theirs and consolidate on the knowledge and experiences gathered”.
“Let me once again reiterate and assure you all of the Commission’s resolve to be fair, impartial, transparent, even-handed, and above all, not soil our consciences”.
“It is now very imperative to remind all stakeholders of their responsibilities before, during, and after the elections. I want to humbly advice security agencies to maintain and beef up security measures by building the confidence of the electorate to believe that they can safely come out to exercise their civic duties by voting for credible candidates of their choice”.
“All security agencies in the State are therefore encouraged to rise to the challenge of the eventuality of violence, threats to life of personnel and the electorate”.
The OGSIEC boss further charged political parties to thoroughly screen their candidates before forwarding their names to the Commission, as a background check on all aspirants was essential to avoid presenting candidates of dubious character”.
He appealed to electorates to come out en-mass for the exercise, with an assurance that their votes will count.
Osibodu disclosed that the commission has implemented suggestions of political parties during its first stakeholders’ meeting, adding that, the meeting was an avenue for all concerned to express their opinion regarding the forthcoming council polls.
Delivering a talk on “Road map to Free, Fair and Credible Local Government elections”, representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Idowu Ayoyinka charged political parties, as well as the electorate to comply with rules and regulations guiding the conduct of elections, noting that their conduct before, during and after elections should be centered on service to humanity.
He urged OGSIEC to ensure adequate logistics and budgeting were well taken care of, revealing that, ‘for an election to be free, fair and credible, a logistical arrangement must be adequately prepared for”.
Earlier in her welcome address, Permanent Secretary, OGSIEC, Mrs. Mojisola Dosunmu maintained that the Commission will be neutral, urging politicians to advise their followers to avoid violence during the exercise.
The highlight of the event was an interactive session where various political parties, religious leaders, Civil Society Groups, Security Agencies among others asked diverse questions, as well as made suggestions instrumental to achieving credible polls.
Other groups who attended the meeting included the National Association of People Living with Disability, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Committee for the Defense of Human Right (CDHR), the Christain Association of Nigeria (CAN), and the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), among others.
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