For a country to be truly democratic, its citizens must have the opportunity to choose their leaders and representatives through peaceful, free and fair elections. Critical development efforts cannot succeed without a legitimate and democratically elected government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens. As over 90 million voters in the Federal Republic of Nigeria prepare to elect their president and representatives for parliament on Saturday, 25th February, 2023, Africans Rising would like to reiterate the need for peaceful, free and fair elections.
In recent years, Nigeria has experienced an unprecedented wave of different but overlapping security and economic crises. The country’s latest crisis is the apparent failure of the Central Bank’s project to roll out new bank notes, leaving many people without access to the cash they need to buy food and other necessities. Election campaigns have been largely peaceful, but they have also been marred by misinformation, disinformation and the incitement of hate, as well as attacks on some candidates and the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commision. Without free, peaceful and fair elections the country cannot progress and achieve its social, economic and democratic goals.
Africans Rising for Unity, Justice, Peace and Dignity emphasises on the following;
- Stakeholders in the country’s electoral process should ensure that there is no electoral malpractice that will distort the quality of representation.
- Authorities should ensure security across the country to enable citizens to cast their ballots peacefully.
- The government should address logistical challenges that could hinder active citizens’ participation in elections.
- Rival political parties should avoid any rhetoric that could incite violence before, during and after elections.
Democratic elections and peaceful power transfer will allow the country to prosper and deal effectively with its current challenges, facilitating a pathway to political and economic stability across Nigeria.