. . . Insists on Credible Poll
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, His Excellency, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has applauded the steady improvement of the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) in the state in conducting a free, fair and credible election.
The charismatic and influential Prelate said the progress was more evidenced during the last governorship election in Anambra State where he said the outcome of the results was not contested.
Speaking during an advocacy visit of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, the cleric however stressed the need for the commission to insist on credible poll that would not only be fair and transparent, but must be acceptable by all.
He said the acceptability of the outcome of credible elections by all parties involved would not only guarantee peace, but would compel those with intention to contest the results to drop the plan.
'The INEC has improved tremendously in recent times. During the last governorship election, the credibility of the election, to a large extent, reduced the tension the exercise was often characterised with.
'Even the politicians who knew their capabilities, but still went ahead to put up false impression of winning, had to own up defeat when they saw the outcome of the election,' he said.
According to Bishop Ezeokafor, when elections were conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner, even the doubting Thomases would have no option than to accept its outcome in good faith.
While calling on the electoral umpire not to create suspicion that the results were being “cooked” during the collation process, the Bishop appealed to politicians to be ready to accept defeat in the spirit of sportsmanship.
'There is no doubt that your responsibilities and challenges are enormous while expectations from you are high. You must be prepared to meet those expectations.
'Those participating in the forthcoming elections should also be willing to accept the outcome of the elections.
'It will be catastrophic for those who lost not to accept defeat and allow the winner to concentrate in the art of governance.
He also called on the electorate to vote according to their conscience, adding that It was only in the selection of leaders that Nigerians have the opportunity of reshaping and making decisions about the future of the country.