Nigeria: The Nigeria Governors Forum assures governors of free, fairs, credible and transparent polls

By Correspondent Chinyere Ogbonna – The Nigeria Governors Forum has assured that governors across the federation were committed to ensuring free, fair, credible and transparent polls.

Director-General of the secretariat,Mr. Asishana Okauru,  who made the declaration, said:“If you are the beneficiary of a process with lot of integrity, then it means you have a good authority to do a number of things. It means your mandate is grounded.’’ He said governors had been very consistent with their push for free fair and credible elections for all elections.

Mr. Okauru noted that ensuring that the polls are free, fair, transparent and credible gives a lot of credibility to the system and a lot of character to the eventual political leaders.’’ Speaking on the results of last Saturday’s National Assembly elections, Mr. Okauru said that the inability of some political bigwigs to win in the elections was an indication that the Nigerian electorate had become wiser. He added that the results reflected true democracy and showed that the electorate gave their votes to candidates based on their performance and track records and not on political affiliations. Mr. Okauru also said that Nigerians should give INEC the benefit of the doubt for re-postponing the National Assembly elections in fifteen senatorial districts and forty eight federal constituencies as it was for the good of all.

The NGF is an umbrella association of the thirty-six state governors fashioned after the American Governors Association. The Forum provides a common platform for synergy and collaboration between the governors in Nigeria. In February, the governors signed an agreement to ensure free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process and to remain committed to the country’s democracy and the integrity of the electoral process.

Meanwhile, Nigerian youths have been commended for their resilience in monitoring the April 2011 polls. President, National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, Mr. Olawale Ajani gave the commendation while addressing journalists in Abuja Nigerian youths for their resilience in monitoring the April, 2011 elections.

Mr. Ajani told the News Agency of Nigeria,NAN in Abuja on Friday that but for the courage and determination of Nigerian youths, the elections would have been marred with irregularities. He said youths made sure that there was no violence, alleging that those who normally fomented trouble were the young ones, but that they made sure that violence was reduced to the barest minimum.

The youth leader advised INEC to take a second look at areas where violence was recorded and plug the loopholes. Mr. Ajani noted that some do-or-die politicians were still around, but stated that it was time they woke up to reality that the time of rigging in Nigerian elections was over.

The NYCN president applauded the role played by NYSC members as ad-hoc staff, adding that they were not compromised as opposed to the past elections where they were not involved. He enjoined youths to come out en-masse in subsequent elections, stating that the turnout in the last election was not too encouraging.

He said that the presidential election would be violence-free contrary to peoples’ expectation that violence might erupt. The youth leader called on youths to be vigilant and not to be deceived by moneybags out to buy their votes.