From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Network of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (NOCSON) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to have his name written in gold by ensuring that free, fair and credible elections are conducted under his watchful eyes.

The group made the appeal on the occasion of the 2023 Electoral Sensitisation and Mobilisation Summit with the theme: “Role of Civil Society in Ensuring a Violence-free, Fair and Credible 2023 Elections, held in Benin City.

Speaking at the event, the president of the group, Emmanuel Ogbidi, said President Muhammadu Buhari has done and spoken so much about how he has reformed the electoral process.

He said Nigerians will be pleased if he matches his words with actions by ensuring that credible elections are conducted in the forthcoming general elections.

“We call on Mr President, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari to match words with actions and ensure all these institutions are given the free hand to carry out their constitutional duties to ensure a violence-free, fair and credible elections.

“This shall remain the last legacy your administration will leave with Nigerians.

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“We urge you to first see yourself as the president of Nigeria, rather than a member of the ruling party”, Ogbidi said.

Ogbidi, while admonishing politicians on what to do to have credible elections, said candidates should play according to the rules of the game, noting that, as major stakeholders in every election, achieving a violence-free, fair and credible election largely depends on them.

On his part, Austin Osakue, said the problem confronting Nigerian elections are religion and ethnicity.

He said Nigerians must play down religion and ethnicity in order to get the right leaders in place.

Also speaking, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Dankwara, said that civil society organisations play a significant role in nation-building as they have the ability to influence the way and manner citizens react to things around them.

He urged the civil rights group to leverage their influential ability to ensure a violence-free elections in the country.