The National President of the Association of Igbo Town Unions (ASITU), Chief Emeka Diwe has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to use the November 11, 2023, governorship elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states to redeem its image among Nigeria and the international community.
Diwe who stated this in Aba, faulted the roles played by INEC during the last presidential election and other elections in Imo State and in other parts of the federation, where election results declared by the electoral body hardly reflected the will of the people.
ASITU urged INEC to organize a free, fair and credible election, stressing that most Nigerians see INEC as an interested party in every election because it fails to keep promises of organizing free, fair and credible elections in the country, despite the introduction of technological innovations in election management.
The association also urged the security agencies, political parties and their members to ensure that they do not make themselves instruments and willing tools for subversion of the electoral process.
ASITU urged INEC to use the three governorship polls as an opportunity to maintain neutrality, redeem its image and prove to Nigerians and the international community that it can organize a free, fair, credible and acceptable election.
It said, “INEC has a big task to ensure that it redeems its image and cleanse itself of the very negative impression Nigerians and the international community have about it.
“It behoves the electoral institution to maintain its neutrality and discharge its duty without fear or favour with the fear of God. The electoral umpire, INEC, has a big task to ensure that it redeems its image and cleanses itself of the very negative impression Nigerians and the international community have about it.
“The role played by INEC in the last presidential election and other elections in Imo State and across Nigeria, rightly or wrongly, has made many Nigerians see INEC as an interested party; hence INEC as a veritable institution must use this opportunity to prove Nigerians wrong.
“It behoves this very important electoral institution to maintain its neutrality and discharge its duty without fear or favour, but with the fear of God.”
ASITU further charged all political parties in the three governorship elections in the November 11, 2023, governorship election to eschew violence, ballot box stuffing and snatching, vote buying and other election irregularities that have become synonymous with political actors during elections in the country.
“As we draw close to the governorship election in Imo and other states in Nigeria, ASETU wishes to remind political parties and their members, that this staggered election presents an important opportunity for the political parties and their actors to redeem their bartered image associated with all forms of election malpractice and violence.
“It is our opinion that any process that will bring about quality and impeccable leadership, must not only be seen to be free and fair but must be truly credible and acceptable.
“It is such credibility that will confer legitimacy on such leadership and make the people to sincerely own it. The people must be allowed to cast their votes freely without undue influence or inducement.
“Without mincing words, reports from Nigerians and members of the political parties themselves regarding the activities of security personnel during elections leave a sour taste in the mouth.
“In the South East, Imo is the only state where elections will be held. We in ASITU have consistently re-echoed that we do not want the mindless killings and palpable fear that envelops Imo and other South East States to continue.
“While we call for complete cessation of this heinous behaviour, we urge Imo people to come out on Saturday, November 11, to cast their votes for candidates of their choice without fear or fear. We owe it a duty to make our states and Nigeria work,” ASITU said.