By Diana Omueza
Abuja – Residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that the upcoming general elections were free, fair, credible and well conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews, the residents charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to maintain neutrality in the exercise.
They urged INEC to endeavor to meet international standards in the conduct of the election as the commission was under close watch for transparency.
Mr Omoefe Itewoo, an artisan said that security agencies must ensure they played their part well and checked acts of thuggery, which often occurred during elections.
He said that in Mararaba area where he resides, elections were often marred by violence after the results were released, and appealed for a difference scenario in the coming elections.
“Mararaba , Nyanya, Jikwoyi and its environment are known for frequent violence between different groups of area boys,” he said.
Itewoo said that he looked forward to peaceful elections in the area and other parts of the country.
On his expectations from INEC, the artisan urged the electoral institution to ensure that its officers arrived at polling booths early and avoid any form of delay in the conduct.
Mr Loveday Nyang, a Public Administration student of the University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, who was also residents in the area, charged the youths to avoid being used as tools or instrument of violence during the elections.
“Life must continue after the election. If you indulge in any act of violence and in the process you get killed or sent to jail, life will go on without you,” he said.
“Losing an election only means you can restrategise, while winning means you are now responsible for all your pledges and promises.”
Ms Kayit Danladi, a resident of Hajj Camp in Gwagwalada Area Council said that she was optimistic that the elections would be free, fair and credible if the electoral institutions remained nonpartisan.
Danladi, who disclosed that she recently attained the voting age, said that she was excited to participate in the election by way of voting and hoped that the new experience would be one worth writing about.
“I turned 18 in the first quarter of 2018 and I was encouraged to register to obtain my voters card by my parents.
“I believe the election will be well conducted and Nigeria will live up to expectations in this 2019 election,” she said.
She said that her fears were not even on the ability of INEC to deliver, but on “we the people who are the recipients of the outcome of the election’’.
Danladi appealed to Nigerians not to over exaggerate their happiness or sadness after the results of the elections were released or announced.
‘‘My fear remains how we would take the outcome of the election because as humans there is every tendency that those whom the outcome is likely to favour may over exaggerate their victory which in turn may incite the losing side to react,” she said.
Mr Yellow, a Newspaper vendor appealed to security agencies to beef up security before, during and after the elections.
He said that whether or not it was an election year, there should be enough security to assure the people of the safety of both their lives and property.
Mr Ifunanya Ogbonnaya, the Director, Christian Empowerment forum (CEF), said he hoped that Nigeria would prove to other nations that it had grown in it electoral system.
He said that he would like to see that the Chairman of INEC carried on with the legacy that his predecessors had left behind by conducting free and fair elections in a peaceful manner.
He appealed to citizens to make efforts to collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) in order to vote, urging people to not just be hopeful for a better Nigeria without doing the needful.
Mrs Comfort Abah-Agada, a public servant told NAN that the 2019 elections would be a test of the Nigeria’s strength in unity and its democracy.
Abah-Agada said that although she did not register to obtain a PVC because she was bedridden during the period of the exercise, she was optimistic that both the government and the INEC would deliver justly.
She encouraged women to participate in voting and to not just to use their PVCs as means of identification in opening accounts or for other requirements.
She urged them not to exchange their votes for any form of financial inducement or material things.
She said that women must learn to say no to collection of wrappers, T-shirts, foodstuffs and kitchen utensils to buy their votes as the implications of such acts would be felt by their children in the nearest future.
Mr Nwantarali Mba, a retiree, urged INEC officers and officers of the police force to do their best and be honest during the elections.
He called for adequate security, noting that if there should be any form of malpractice in the election, it could affect the acceptance of its outcome.
NAN recalls that the Presidential and National Assembly elections are due to hold on Feb. 16, while Governorship and State Houses of Assembly polls are scheduled for March 2.