Only Credible Elections Can Guarantee Democratic Growth —Stakeholders

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STAKE-HOLDERS in Edo State have insisted that only free, fair and credible elections were the  necessary ingredients that could guarantee  vibrant and acceptable democratic growth in Nigeria elections.

This was  contained in a communiqué by the stakeholders at the end of a symposium entitled  The Role of INEC, Politicians and Stakeholders in credible Election,”  organised  by Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Edo State Council, in Benin City.

The communiqué by Messers Kevin Okunzua and Ofure Osehobo,  however,  frowned at the conspicuous absence of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and security agencies from the event despite  being critical stakeholders in the electoral processes in the world over. In attendance at the symposium were representatives of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress, APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, traditional rulers, civil society groups, the media and relevant groups.

The stakeholders advised the government to ensure economic independence of its citizenry to discourage voter apathy and vote buying mentality among the electorate. It said, “INEC and security agencies must assert their independence to restore and sustain the confidence of the electorate and the international community.

“That political parties should promote internal democracy to discourage party hopping, money politics and thuggery. There should be constant and sustained political engagement via enlightenment of the public by the media, INEC and relevant stakeholders  for the sustenance of true democratic growth “Media practitioners should avoid partisanship and stick to their avowed responsibilities as enshrined and guaranteed by the constitution whilepoliticians and relevant stakeholders should at all time engage in issue based discussions and refrain from making inflammatory remarks.

“INEC leadership must ensure it properly trains its staff ahead of any election and should have handy, functional equipment to prosecute its mandate as an electoral umpire.” The stakeholders advised politicians to  learn to be good sportsmen and develop attitude to accept defeat in good faith. They called on Nigerian youths to properly prepare themselves to take leadership positions and learn to avoid to accept cheap crumbs from politicians. .