The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room opened its election observation and analysis of the 2015 general elections with a statement welcoming the Peace Accord, signed by the Presidential Candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan and the All Progressives Congress (APC),Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari by the National Peace Committee, headed by former military Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, less than 48 hours to the presidential and National Assembly election on Saturday, is timely. It is our hope that this latest Peace Accord reassures the country that political parties will refrain from mobilising groups to violently disrupt the elections.
Reports suggest that organised violence, which are linked to the two leading political parties, have been engaged to cause mayhem in the country if the presidential candidate of their party loses at the polls.
The Situation Room believes that the new peace accord, coming after the first, signed by 14 political parties fielding candidates for the presidential poll in January,will reassure Nigerians that the parties and their presidential candidates are not involved in these rumoured plans to disrupt the elections.
It therefore urges Nigerians, who are in the habit of spreading rumours through the social media and other means of communication, to stop such unpatriotic act and calls on all eligible voters to ignore the rumours and go out en masse to freely cast their votes for the candidates of their choice.
The Situation Room is also concerned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) delay in distributing cards to all accredited domestic and foreign observers, including journalists to enable them observe the polls across the country.
It notes the importance of election observation in the conduct of elections in a democratic country like Nigeria and urges INEC to provide the accreditation cards to these observers without further delay to enable them monitor the polls.
The Situation Room demands that security agencies should protect the rights of citizens, especially the voters and cooperate with other stakeholders to ensure free,fair and credible elections.
The Situation Room is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria numbering more than 60.