ABUJA – The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) has applauded the conduct of security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State.
The Secretary-General of CSN, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, gave the commendation in Abuja on Thursday during the public presentation of the church’s report on the recently concluded Osun guber polls.
Madu said a repeat of the Osun feat during the 2015 general elections would place Nigeria among countries with well entrenched democratic traditions and institutions.
“From the reports of the 1,046 observers deployed across the three senatorial zones, Caritas Nigeria and JDPC (Justice Department and Peace Commission) state that the conduct of the Osun State governorship election was generally transparent, free and fair.
“That the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shown a great level of improvement in election management in Nigeria and it is hoped that it will cascade to the 2015 general election.
“That baring the incidence of the Department of State Security (DSS) operative masking their faces which nearly brought panics to the people, other security agencies behaved in professional and friendly manner.
“We also wish to congratulate INEC for a job well done and hope that it will not relent at maintaining this enviable feat it has achieved in Osun State.“
The Secretary-General criticised comments attributed some individuals and political parties about the security arrangements for the polls. [eap_ad_2] Madu also commended the conduct of the electorate during the polls but added that there was room for improvement particularly in the conduct of political parties.
He said observers deployed by the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria, an arm of the CSN, reported several cases of exchange of cash for votes at some of the polling units.
The Secretary General urged the political parties to desist from such acts and warned that receiving cash for votes was a bad development that would not augur well for society.
“The people of Osun State showed much enthusiasm in exercising their franchise as most of them ignored the drizzles and came out en masse not only to cast their votes, but also waited behind to defend their mandate.
“However, Caritas Nigeria and JDPC note with concern the activities of some political parties and their agents, who were seen at polling units writing down the permanent voter card (PVC) numbers of voters and doling out N2,000 to each voter after voting.
“It is our candid desire that political parties should desist from trivialising serious issues in Nigeria but rather work hard to build a sustainable democratic culture.“
The secretary-general thanked UNDP for its support to the church in sending out observers to monitor the polls and called on other donor agencies to emulate UNDP in subsequent exercises. (NAN)[eap_ad_3]