The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been urged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to refrain from manipulating the general elections in 2023.
On Tuesday in Abuja, the interim chairman of the party, Umar Damagum, made the appeal while receiving a delegation of special representatives of the UN Secretary-General, led by Ahmad Annadif, director of the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).
The conduct of Nigeria’s elections in 2023 will be important to the UN and the international community, according to Mr. Damagum, the PDP’s deputy national chairman (North).
He pleaded with the UN to give INEC advice on how to make sure the elections were transparent and credible.
“We need your support to ensure that INEC is truly an election umpire. There are a lot of reforms that have taken place which will be put to test in these coming elections. We hope with the signing of the new Electoral Act, those reforms will alleviate some of our fears in the coming elections,” he said.
Mr. Damagum continued that the nation could not afford any kind of electoral violence and expressed his hope that, if the APC did not win the general elections in 2023, it would follow in the footsteps of the PDP and concede defeat and peacefully cede power.
“We hope they will continue to see Nigeria as one of the uniting factors on the continent, so that we continue to lead by example. We have been doing so since the coming of democracy in 1999 and we will continue to do so,” stated the PDP chieftain. “We will continue to do our part as opposition party.”
But he told the UN representative: “You also have to continue to do your part to ensure that things are done rightly. You can do that in advisory form or any other form in which you have been doing it.”
Taofeek Arapaja, the PDP’s deputy national chairman for the south, also spoke at the meeting and urged the UN to take action against anyone trying to sabotage the elections in 2023.
He pleaded on the UN to take seriously the issues of vote-buying and the behavior of security personnel during elections.
Vote-buying, according to Mr. Arapaja, was evident in the recently completed governorship race in Ekiti.
“A situation where people cannot change the situation they do not like is what we do not want,” stressed Mr Arapaga.