Dear Esteemed Fellow Nigerians,
On Saturday March 9, 2019, we will once again exercise our civic rights and responsibilities as citizens to elect our governors and members of the State Houses of Assembly. Despite some of the hitches experienced during the presidential and National Assembly elections that took place on Saturday, February 23, 2019, we demonstrated our collective resilience as a people, through our commitment to peaceful elections. Such commitment should be carried over to the March 9, 2019 elections.
The members of the Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance in Nigeria, comprising civic and religious leaders, wish to reaffirm our appeal to all institutions and citizens to conduct themselves peacefully and with integrity, with the goal of the elections being to produce legitimate outcomes that will be widely accepted.
We also reaffirm our call to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the political parties and their supporters, and Nigeria’s security forces, that they have their respective critical roles to play in the period leading up to the elections, during the voting, and in the aftermath:
• INEC must continue to provide a level playing field for all candidates, parties, and voters in order to uphold the sanctity of the electoral process and its outcome. This must include transparency and frequent, clear, robust communication with Nigerians on all aspects of the commission’s work.
• Political candidates, party officials, and supporters must avoid behaviour and actions that would undermine the credibility of the electoral process or lead to the breach of peace.
• Security institutions must uphold the principles of professionalism and respect for human rights at all times in the discharge of their duties. They must also ensure absolute impartiality and avoid any action that could be seen to cast doubt on their detachment.
The Working Group is of the strong conviction that successful elections in Nigeria can provide a more solid footing for political harmony and stability both within and beyond the borders of the country. In this regard, we commend the civil society, development partners and the international community for their roles in supporting Nigeria and amplifying its citizens’ voices in our pursuit of peaceful, free, and fair elections that provide the foundation for state legitimacy.
• His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto
• Cardinal John Onaiyekan
• General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd)
• Ambassador Fatima Balla
• Professor Ibrahim Gambari
• Dr. Nguyan Feese
• Professor Jibrin Ibrahim
• Dr. Chris Kwaja
• Mrs. Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode