The Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has expressed optimism that the presidential election will be a peaceful one, if the government does what is right in ensuring a free and fair election.
Onaiyekan who made this known in a press conference yesterday, in commemoration of his 75th birthday celebration said that despite the heat presently being generated by the election, there are possibilities that the government might get it right in the conduct of the election.
According to the Archbishop of Abuja, the government has the major responsibility to ensure that the election goes well, because it controls the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all the security agencies.
“I have heard Mr. President said that he will do all within his powers to ensure that there will be free and fair election. The question still remains; how far is his power and how is he doing all in his power?” he said.
He noted that the National Peace Commission (NPC) has gotten all the politicians together to symbolically sign peace accord and to accept the results of the elections. “It is one thing to sign documents and it is quite another thing to see what is happening on ground,” he added.
“As an optimist, I have not given up hope yet, even though the election is only two to three weeks away. I still believe that we will manage to get a reasonably good election outcome. However, that would happen if the major responsible elements of the election do what is right, namely the government.
“The government has the major responsibility to ensure that the election goes well, because they control the INEC and all the security agencies, which are the Police, DSS and the Military,” he said.
Onaiyekan said that if the INEC and security agents do their work very well, February 16 will be a wonderful day where eligible Nigerian voters will go out and cast their votes peacefully, then go home and wait for the outcome of the election.
“But until we see what happens in this 2019 general elections, we cannot say that we are making progress. All I know is that Nigeria as a country should have gone beyond where we are presently,” Onaiyekan said.
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