From Esther Akaa, Lafia
A coalition of observer groups in the just concluded March 18th, 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Nasarawa State, has called on politicians to eschew religious and tribal sentiments and work for the unity of the state.
The spokesperson of the group, Mr Messiah Nwokoma made the call at a press conference held on Tuesday at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Lafia.
According to him, the group observed the negative resort to religious and tribal sentiments before and during the governorship and state assembly elections by political figures, noting that it created a division in the voting pattern of the electorate.
“As much as this tendency remains a condemnable act, we must thank majority of the electorates in the state for not heeding to this call which would have polarised the state and set it on an ignoble path that would have affected the relative peace that exists in the state.
“To this end, we unequivocally condemn such resort to religious sentiments and call on relevant authorities to nip this negative tendencies in the bud in future elections because such sentiments have no place in building a united and prosperous state,” he said.
He, called on politicians who lost out to accept the outcome of the elections and support those elected for the peace and progress of the state
Nwokoma, commended the Naira redesign policy of the Federal Government as well as the role of anti-corruption agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in checkmating vote buying as well financial inducement of voters at polling units during the elections.
“It is worthy to note that government appointees who would have been used to carry out such activities as had been witnessed in other elections before this time, were observed to have voted and gone back to their respective homes.
“The absence of security personnel attached to such personalities also made, them look like normal citizens that came to cast their votes,” he said.
He, therefore commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba for restraining security personnel to escort politicians to polling units, calling for its sustenance inorder to discourage vote buying and intimidation of voters during elections.
He also lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for improving on areas of lapses identified during the Presidential and National elections such as late arrival of materials, non-performance of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) among others, calling on them to sustain the tempo.