By Omotoyosi Idowu and Adewunmi Awofeso
Some Lagos residents on Thursday urged the Federal Government to ensure that the upcoming general elections are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere and charged the nation’s electoral body to keep to its promise of conducting free, fair and transparent polls.
They spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on their expectations from the government, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and political parties ahead of the forthcoming elections in the country.
Presidential and National Assembly elections are due to hold on Feb. 16, while governorship and state houses of assembly polls are scheduled for March 2.
Mr Olu Phillips, Pastor of Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C), Fountain of Light, Fadeyi, Lagos, said that security agencies must ensure they play their part well and check acts of thuggery, which often occur during elections.
He said that in his area for instance, elections were often marred by violence and he would want to see a difference in the coming elections.
“Fadeyi is known for frequent violence between different gangs of area boys,’’ Phillips said, noting that he looked forward to peaceful elections in the area and other parts of the country.
On his expectations from INEC, the cleric urged the electoral body to ensure that its officers arrive the polling booths early to avoid delay in conduct of the elections.
A student of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Mayowa Daramola, who also resides in Fadeyi, spoke in similar vein, urging the government to ensure adequate security before and after the polls.
“For 2019 election to be conducted peacefully, government must ensure adequate security to provide conducive environment for voting,’’ he said.
The student expressed concern about the activities of thugs during the political season and appealed to security agencies to keep them at bay.
Daramola also urged political parties to stop sharing material things under the guise of political campaign.
‘‘Most people attend political campaigns and rallies because of money that will be shared by politicians; so they will fight endlessly to have their share when they think they are being treated unfairly by others.
“Campaign is supposed to be a gathering where aims and objectives of political parties and candidates are stated, not a meeting to entice people with money” he said.
Mr Adewale Balogun, a printer, urged the INEC to conduct free and fair elections.
He also said that there should be enough security during the elections, and counting of votes at polling units should be done in an orderly manner to avoid manipulation.
Mr Ubaka Nelson, a trader, told NAN that he would like to see free and fair elections, in which INEC would do its job in an independent manner.
He also appealed to political parties to play according to the rules and desist from buying votes, but rather tell the people their manifesto during campaigns.
Mrs Adekunle Hastrup, a self-employed woman, told NAN that the value of democracy is when citizens are not denied of their inalienable right to vote.
Hastrup, who spoke in vernacular, called on the government to do the needful and ensure voters are able to vote without being intimidated at polling booths.
She also urged voters not to exchange their votes for any form of financial inducement or material things.
Mr Idowu Funsho, a businessman, urged INEC officers to do their best and be honest during the election.
He also called for adequate security, noting that if there should be any form of malpractice in the election, it could affect the acceptance of its outcome.