The Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to use the forthcoming governorship elections in Anambra and Ekiti States to boost its image.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported on Sunday that the bishop gave the charge in Ado Ekiti while delivering a lecture titled, ‘Ekiti politics and the search for great leadership.’
Ajakaiye asked INEC to be above board and be neutral in the conduct of the November 6 Anambra governorship poll so as to keep its image from further dent.
He admonished the electoral umpire to also replicate same in the June 18, 2022 governorship election in Ekiti, saying “the image of the commission is central to achieving public confidence in accepting outcomes of elections as credible, acceptable, free and fair.”
He also asked voters to avoid compromising their future by engaging in activities capable of aiding and abetting fraudulent practices that go against the norms of acceptable global standards.
According to him, INEC must act as a truly independent body, and allow the votes of Nigerians to count.
“I have observed that it is when election is coming that all manners of politicians begin to emerge.
“They are one-off politicians. They will set up all manners of empowerment programmes and when the election is over, you won’t see them again. That is why we have to be careful,” he warned.
Ajakaye stated that whoever emerged as a leader in the elections must eschew winner-takes-all spirit, by accommodating members of the opposition and competent apolitical individuals in governance, for effective delivery.
Speaking on the poor figures being recorded on election day due to voter apathy, he challenged Nigerians, especially those in Anambra and Ekiti States, to participate effectively in electoral exercise.
“I humbly urge many of them to start mobilising and enlightening the people and sacrifice on election day, leave their comfort zone and come out like other people to vote,” he said.
Bishop Ajakaye advised Nigerians to be determined in fighting the problem of vote selling and buying, saying this remained the best way to prevent their future from being mortgaged.
On the 2023 presidential election, he urged Nigerians to elect competent President and governors that would transform the country and all states beyond the present situation.
Ajakaye added that while the controversial zoning agitations might not be out place, those who would emerge through such arrangement must be competent, energetic and sound intellectually.
He advised that each state of the federation must resist all odds and elect responsible and committed individuals like governors, who can bring about the needed growth and development in the area of economy and solve the increasing cases of kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.