By Lexi Elo
The Association of Nigerians Abroad (ANA), a non-profit, non-ethnic, non-religious and non-partisan association of Nigerians resident around the globe, has called for all possible efforts to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections that are coming up on March 28 and April 11, 2015.
The group in a statement made available to Sundiata Post expressed concern about the do-or-die attitude of the candidates, their supporters and agents, and noted that the purpose of campaigning in a democratic environment is for the candidates and supporters to present to the general electorate the policy objectives and goals as articulated by their respective parties on how to advance Nigeria forward.
According to the group “Considering that these policy objectives and goals tend to enunciate positive visions, it would, therefore, be paradoxical to such spirit if candidates and supporters encourage or participate in acts of election season violence.
“ANA believes that violence-free election campaigns are crucial for implementing free and fair elections. The outcome of such violence-free elections would legitimise the eventual winners, thereby helping to minimise the pervading cynicism and suspicion among Nigerians about their government. It would also instill confidence among international investors.”
ANA maintained that it is only a Nigerian government with legitimately elected candidates that can enjoy the support of its people to successfully implement the policy objectives as promised by their parties.
It noted that while national stakes are too high to be ignored, there is a heightened general insecurity in the country.
“ANA is calling for free and fair elections through: access for voters to perform their civic responsibilities without intimidation; unrestricted access of the ballot boxes to legal party representatives and international observers; neutrality on the part of the Nigerian military and law enforcement agents; and compliance with an agreed code of conduct that provides legal channels for resolving any electoral disputes,” the group concluded.