By Chiamaka Olua
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the weekend tasked lecturers at various Institutions in Nigeria who have been engaged for the 2019 General elections not to compromise their integrity.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Anambra State, Dr Nwachukwu Orji, represented by the Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, Leo Nkedife, stated this during a town hall meeting organized by Academics in Tertiary Institutions in the Southeast and South-South under the auspices of Academic Frontiers Initiative (AFI), Anambra Chapter, at Finotel Hotel.
Dr Orji, a Political Scientist, called on the lecturers to live above board and ensure that the 2019 general elections remained the best in the annals of Nigeria’s democratic history, as according to him, INEC had perfected plans to give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections this year.
The National Coordinator Academic Frontiers Initiative (AFI), Dr Chinedu Onyeizugbe, disclosed that the town hall meeting became necessary to mobilize lecturers who acted as advisory and intellectual moulders to become partners in ensuring good governance through sensitization and advocating for free, fair and credible elections.
He noted that the ballot was stronger than the bullet and that the lecturers were better off in that role, rather than continuing to be arm chair critics.
Contributing, the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, who represented the Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, reiterated that Obi and Atiku were the best that Nigerians needed now more than ever before.
Recalling Obi’s feats in Anambra during his 8 years of governance, Prof Okunna insisted that good governance should not be selective and discriminatory. She said the democratic model Obi presented in Anambra through ANIDS, developed the state simultaneously. She expressed the hope that the entire country would be developed by Atiku and Obi if given the chance.
In his welcome remarks, the state Coordinator, Academic Frontiers Initiative (AFI), Dr Uche Ngenegbo; Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof Joseph Ahaneku, represented by Prof Godson Okafor; Prof Uche Nwogwugwu and other stakeholders, as well as political parties’ representatives, harped on the need for free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria to enthrone committed and dedicated and visionary leaders.
They said it was why they were mobilizing the academics across institutions in the two zones to participate actively in the election without compromise. They called on INEC to be proactive and nip all forms of electoral malpractice in the bud, even as they raised alarm over vote buying, which, they said, jeopardized the electoral process.