The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has charged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to ensure to give Nigerians free and fair elections next year.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) Peace Committee in Abuja, yesterday, Onaiyekan, who warned against any form of manipulation of the election results, recalled that the present government is a beneficiary of free and fair election, to the extent that the government in power then conceded defeat.He, however, lamented that the whole atmosphere today is full of rumours that everything would be done to ensure there is no free and fair elections next year.
According to him, elections are simple normal things that happened every four years and Nigerians should be allowed to choose whoever they want, adding: ìAfter the voting, they should tell us the results of the elections, instead of manipulating, arm-twisting, bribing left and right and putting yourself into a position nobody has put you.î†
He warned the present government not to start off on the assumption that they must win, saying: ìIf they start that way, we are not going to have free and fair elections.
Everybody should be prepared to lose and everybody should be prepared to win. The electorate have the final say.Earlier, president of RECOWA and Catholic Bishop of Jos, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, observed that a glance at a political context of West Africa indicates cases of poor democratic transitions due to factors such as lack of respect for the rule of law, weak institutions and the shrinking space for political participation, among others.