Nigerians have been charged to exercise their civic responsibilities peacefully and to shun every form of violence as they participate in the February 25 and March 11 elections across different parts of the country.
The charge was given by speakers who spoke at a webinar organized by the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) with the theme: ‘Strengthening the Fabric of Democracy: Promoting Peaceful and Non-Violent Electoral Process in Nigeria’.
While giving his welcome remarks, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA noted that the tension is high as the election approaches and there is a tendency for people to be emotional as they go to the polls, which is the propensity to drive people towards violence.
Oluwafemi, who mentioned that perpetuating violence would not help to achieve any positive impact, implored Nigerians to participate in the electoral process peacefully.
He said, “there cannot be enough conversation about what we can do to bring about good leadership in this country.”
He thereafter charged the security operatives to ensure the environment is safe for people to exercise their civic rights.
Lucas Koyejo, the South West Zonal Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) noted that every adult has the right to vote and to vote peacefully.
Koyejo noted that if the process is compromised, regardless of how little, the outcome is already compromised and thereafter appealed to voters to go to the polls to exercise their rights and not to perpetuate violence.
“People should go out, not minding the threat from different parts of the country, and cast their votes for those they think deserve to hold the mantle of leadership in the country,” Koyejo added.
Also, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, Project Director, Vision Spring Initiatives highlighted the need for election stakeholders to ensure that the process is inclusive for all groups; including women, youths, and persons with disabilities.
Nwosu harped on the need for the country to begin to consider electronic voting as it would afford people to stay in the comfort of their locations to cast their votes.
Philip Jakpor, the Director of Programmes at CAPPA remarked that “Election is not war and it cannot be won by war,” and appealed once again to Nigerians to cast their votes without instigating or perpetuating violence.