By Ali Abare Abubakar
The Savannah Centre for Diplomacy Democracy and Development (SCDDD) has urged political gladiators from the two major political parties to be mindful of overheating the polity and to give peace a chance by placing national interests above narrow interests.
In a press release issued to journalists yesterday in Abuja, signed by its executive director, Ambassador Abdullahi Omaki, former Nigeria’s ambassador to Chad, the SCDDD, enjoined all political parties, their leaders and supporters to refrain from all actions and utterances capable of compounding political tension and engendering violence in the country at this critical time.
The centre noted with regrets that in spite of the Abuja Accord, some party members and their supporters have not refrained from the use of inflammatory and highly divisive languages, including personal attacks rather than focusing on substantive issues.
The former envoy appealed to all political parties, their leaders, members and supporters to continue to have faith in the Abuja Accord and give peace a chance.
While re-iterating its earlier advocacy for violence-free, fair and credible elections that can deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians as well as project a better image of the country to the wider international community, SCDDD however challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come clean regarding the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
“The Savannah Centre believes that Nigerians deserve to know the exact status of the PVCs already procured anddistributed by INEC as well as the remaining balance. This is necessary because INEC’s position at a recent Conference which the CSIS and Savannah Centre hosted in Abuja on 15th-16th January, gave a figure of 54,341,601 as PVCs procured thus far, out of which 38,774,391 have been distributed or collected.
“If 68.8m people as confirmed by INEC to be the updated registered voters, it means that the outstanding PVCs for procurement is about 14.5 million. This underscores the necessity for INEC and the political parties to engage each othertransparently and discuss the issue of the remaining PVCs to enable a common understanding on how to proceed, to ensure credible, free and acceptable outcome devoid of violence” the SCDDD concluded.