By Emma Emeozor
International Society of Diplomats (ISD) has said Nigeria must hold free, fair and credible elections to give good example as it occupies a strategic position in Africa, and continue to be an attraction to the rest of the world in diverse areas of diplomatic relations.
The appeal was made yesterday by Victor Asije, the ISD special emissary on Media to Nigeria ahead of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
He said the international election observers want Nigeria to conduct the general election in line with internationally acceptable democratic rules.
Asije, who spoke in Lagos, noted that other nations, including Nigerians in diaspora, internationalists, regional and international election observers are already prepared to monitor the conduct and outcome of the elections.
According to him, Nigeria occupies a strategic position in Africa, and would continue to be an attraction to the rest of the world in diverse areas of diplomatic relations. “Everything about Nigeria rings a bell in other countries of the world. Nigeria is no enemy to any other country. Already, so many people across the world are waiting to monitor the conduct of the elections from its beginning to the announcements of results.
“Nigeria has conducted elections in the past that were globally commended. It is, therefore, important the forthcoming elections be an improvement on past elections. And because Africa is the centrepiece of Nigeria’s foreign policy, it is expected that Nigeria strives to achieve non-violent elections that others African countries would continue to emulate,’’ he said.
He warmed young Nigerians against allowing themselves to be instruments for rigging elections, ballot snatching and thuggery, adding that they should value their lives, and not die for any political office seeker.
“Nigerian young men and women should know they are very precious to their parents, their immediate communities and country. As a matter of fact, the world needs you all. They must not engage themselves in acts that contravenes the country’s electoral laws. They shouldn’t allow themselves to be gun down or arrested to spend the better part of their lives in prison,’’ Asije said.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as other relevant agencies, for providing the needed materials, sensitisation, and logistics for the conduct of the elections.
Asije also thanked President Buhari and INEC’s plan to ensure adequate security would be provided at the various polling booths, strategic locations and volatile communities across the country.
The special emissary, who commended the Nigerian journalists for their irreplaceable roles in the enthronement of the nation’s democracy, enjoined them to do it again by being objective and non-partisan in reporting the elections.
The envoy said ISD is prepared to partner other international election observers in monitoring the conduct of elections in different countries.
“The ISD enjoys international sovereignty and territorial integrity. So, its carefully appointed ambassadors are prepared to join other observers also as international observers of elections in different countries.
According to him, ISD is composed of men and women of proven integrity, honesty, professionalism, excellence, ebullience, camaraderie and sagacity, that nations urgently need to join in guarding against election malpractices like vote-buying, ballot box snatching and election results manipulation.
“We of ISD wish Nigerians a hitch-free conduct of elections that would usher in another administration that would further strengthen Nigeria’s unilateral, bilateral, trilateral and multilateral relations with other countries of the world,’’ he said.