Iduozee Paul, Benin
As Nigerians prepare to return to the polls Saturday February 2019, some non-governmental bodies- Smiles Africa International Youth Development Initiative, YoungstarsFoundation, 2Baba Foundation and Ambassador, Vote Not Fight Campaign and Yali Network-have urged INEC to work with the police and other law enforcement agencies toensure free, fair and credible elections.
The groups gave the advice at a protest march to the NUJ Press Centre in Benin city and head office of INEC in thestate, to ensure quick distribution and timely arrival of electoral materialsat various polling units across the country.
Addressing journalists, spokesperson of the groups, Comrade Franklyn Oshio andComrade Purpose Osamwonyi charged INEC to display openness and transparency inall its activities, and in its relationship with all stakeholders. “Todaywe have come to say No to electoral violence. Our firm resolve is to shunviolence in general elections in Nigeria,” they stated.
“For us non-violent and peaceful polls in 2019 are not negotiable. Weremind all the political parties that the legitimacy of any government lies onits emergence from peaceful, free, fair and credible elections. The 2019general polls offers another forum for Nigerian youth under the auspices of the#VoteNotFight rally to make the following the demands from lNEC.
“We are here because INEC is saddled with the conduct of free, fair andcredible polls for sustainable democracy in Nigeria. We have come to tell INECleadership to function independently, and conduct free and fair elections”.
Responding to the group, secretary to the Edo State NUJ, Comrade Titus Akhigbe urgedthem to educate the youths not to collect money from politicians and to vote accordingto their conscience.