Group Calls for Peaceful and Credible 2023 Elections

Appeal for Peaceful and Credible Elections 2023

Nigerian Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance

Dear Esteemed Fellow Nigerians,
Once again, our Nation is preparing for one of the most monumental markers of any democracy – elections. On Saturday 25th February 2023, we will exercise our rights and responsibilities as citizens to choose our next president, governors and legislators. The members of the Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance in Nigeria, composed of civic and religious leaders, wish to lend our voices to this important, exciting and naturally tension-filled period.

Our country has made remarkable progress toward strengthening and consolidating our democracy. This year marks 24 years since the restoration of democratic, multiparty constitutional rule in Nigeria. We can be proud, also, that just as in 2015, we achieved the country’s first- ever peaceful presidential transition from an incumbent to an opposition candidate, the 2023 election provides yet another opportunity for a peaceful transition of power through a credible process.

We are however concerned about worrying signs that our democratic culture is still plagued by major challenges:
1) There are significant signs that many in the political class are still deploying violence and purveying fake, hate and dangerous messages.
2) The culture of vote buying remains a significant threat to the ability of citizens to vote for credible and competent candidates in spite of the on-going currency change crisis which might make citizens even more vulnerable to inducement.
3) The political, social and economic environment in the country is being poisoned by ill timed policy measures such as the Naira redesign policy and rising tension between the Presidency, the Central Bank and State Governors while the cash crunch is crippling the economy and increasing hardship.
The National Working Group is concerned about the dangers posed by the anti-social and anti-democratic actions of some of the political actors and calls on citizens to be even more determined in working towards defending the peoples’ right to a free, fair and credible election.

We call on all election stakeholders to remain vigilant in ensuring that we have peaceful and credible electoral outcomes determined by the choice of citizens:
i. Election stakeholders must ensure that the elections are held in accordance with the applicable laws, rules, and regulations, and based on our common respect for every citizen’s humanity and for our country’s democracy;
ii. INEC, the political parties and their supporters, and Nigeria’s security forces have a special responsibility in the period leading up to the elections, during the voting, and in the aftermath;
iii. Political candidates, party officials, and supporters must avoid behavior and actions that would undermine the credibility of the electoral process or lead to a breach of peace;
iv. Security agencies must uphold the principles of professionalism, neutrality and respect for human rights at all times in the discharge of their duties;
v. Citizens must ensure that in making their choices, they remain focused on the competence and integrity of candidates not the inducement some of them may offer.

Cardinal John Onaiyekan
General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd)
Prof. Attahiru Jega
Ambassador Fatima Balla
Dr. Nguyan Feese
Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim
Dr. Usman Bugaje
Dr. Aisha Murtala Muhammed – Oyebode
Dr. Chris Kwaja

Abuja, Nigeria, 15th February 2023

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Group Calls for Peaceful and Credible 2023 Elections

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- Cmr. Friday Bako is an Accounting Graduate, Blogger, Social Media Influencer, Youth Activist and Advocate for good governance.