As reactions continue to trail the postponement of National Assembly and presidential elections, the African Union, Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) has cautioned politicians and stakeholders in Nigeria’s political space to stop the blame game caused over the postponement of last Saturday’s elections.
It also charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to set a global standard with the February 23, 2019, adding that voters must not be discouraged as a result of the one week postponement by INEC.
The council urged Nigerians to be calm, exercise restraint and support INEC in discharging the responsibility of conducting free, fair and credible election.
The AU-ECOSOCC disclosed this in an emailed reaction on the election postponement, which was made available to our correspondent through its Nigeria Chapter Representative, John Oba.
It said, “We have read with concern several insinuations and blame game in the media on the postponement and wish to caution that all stakeholders should exercise restraint and rather channel their effort at assisting the commission to organise credible polls.
“We must all understand that our words at this time will go a long way to either make or mar the process and endanger the peace of Nigeria and Africa at large. Stakeholders must therefore watch against comments that may hamper the process.”
The council said INEC should be supported to ensure it conducts elections that would send strong democratic lessons for other member states of the AU to emulate.
It also noted that the world was hoping that Nigeria would through this election set a standard and commended INEC for taking proactive steps to avert staggered elections that may give room to suspicion and legal logjams.
The AU-ECOSOCC appreciated the roles being played by international and domestic observers, especially in mobilisation and financial support towards a credible, free and fair 2019 general election in Nigeria.
It appealed to stakeholders not to get tired due to the postponement and the shortcomings of the electoral commission, adding that the AU council had confidence that INEC will still make Africa proud.
The group also charged INEC to ensure that all necessary arrangements were perfected and finalised now to avoid further postponement and stressed that the commission must continue to prioritise voter awareness and prompt release of information in order to avert all forms of fake news.