Nigeria: Savannah Centre Salutes Voters


On the back of its recent advocacy tour and visits to stakeholders nationwide, the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD) has termed Nigerian voters ‘the real heroes’ of Nigeria’s presidential elections of March 28 – 29, 2015.

Executive Director of Savannah Centre and Nigeria’s former ambassador to Chad, Amb. Abdullahi Omaki applauded the incredible patience, perseverance and resilience of the voters who braved the scorching sun and rain, went without food or water for hours and waited till their votes were totalled late in the day.

Amb. Omaki called Nigerian voters ‘the real heroes in the sustainability of democracy in Afrca’s most populous country and have made her a winner in the continent’s quest by entrenching democracy in Nigeria.’

Against a background of apathy, violence and other odds, Nigerians -young and old- trooped out and their voices heard through the ballot box.

Amb. Omaki added that despite the logistics challenges such as late arrival of election officials and in some areas, mix-up of these materials and malfunctioning of some card readers, voters demonstrated great faith, love and patriotism in their country and endured all the inconveniences, for Nigeria to be a winner in this democratic process.

As reinforcement to the peaceful and successful conduct of the polls, Savannah Centre extends a salute to President Goodluck Jonathan for his statesmanship and call for patience by all when four card readers could not accredit him and the First Lady. Despite this isolated case and several other around the country, Savannah Centre believes that the card readers largely performed above average; consequently, it enhanced the integrity and credibility of the elections.

Savannah Centre believes the card reader ‘is a system that should be perfected to become a permanent feature in future elections because they largely served the purpose for which they were introduced which was to stop or reduce to the barest minimum, frauds associated with accreditation processes.’

On the security of voters and election officials during the election, Savannah Centre commends the security agencies for maintaining security across the country. SCDDD, however, expresses disappointment and regrets that despite these efforts, violence still erupted in some states like Anambra, Enugu Gombe and Rivers.

Savannah Centre commends INEC for its prompt interventions in some of the isolated cases which have led to the continuation of voting into 29th March 2015.

SCDDD urges INEC to speedily resolve complaints associated with disagreements over whether elections took place or not and, the peculiar circumstances surrounding the objections in Rivers state and is worried about speculations regarding the possibility of tampering with or manipulating the actual results during collation of votes.

Civil societies were commended for drawing attention to the Rivers anomaly; caution and vigilance on INEC’s part so as not plunge the nation into avoidable crisis.

Savannah Centre posits that the will of the people should be allowed to prevail. This noble act honours the voters whose patriotic commitment and sacrifices for the sustenance of democracy are not taken for granted.

In conclusion, Savannah Centre states ‘We must all rally together and promote the corporate greatness of our country rather than succumb to narrow parochial interests. We must indeed take whatever measures that is necessary to make Nigerians and Nigeria the true winners of this election and not narrow interests as repercussions for doing so are not in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.’


Source: Development Diaries