Determined to ensure a hitch-free poll come 2019, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put in place some pro-active measures that will promote credible, non-violence, free and fair elections in the country.
The call was contained in a keynote address by the Rivers State Director of NOA, Mr Oliver Wolugbom during a one-day security sensitisation programme at Ogu, Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area.
Wolugbom said for a peaceful and credible elections in the country, there must be changing of values and attitudes associated with power and its usage.
He also stated that youths should be made understand that they are to jeopardising their future by indulging in electoral violence and succumbing to money politics.
According to him, electoral violence in any form should be criminalised to curb the growing trend while respect for the rule of law must be enforced across board.
He insisted that perpetrators of electoral violence should be brought to justice to restore public confidence in the electoral process.
The NOA boss in Rivers State opined that politicians who employ hate speeches and inflammatory languages as electioneering campaign tools should be disqualified from contesting elections and that INEC officials and others involved in the electoral process should be appointed from persons of high integrity, while religious and ethnic bigotry should be shunned.
He further stated that security personnel should display professionalism to the tenets and limits of their duties at all times and not to yield to manipulations by politicians.
He stressed the need to carry out aggressive sensitisation on violence-free elections and the roles the various stakeholders should play in the society.
Wolugbom noted that there is need to establish political and civic education in Nigerian schools in order to mould positive perception about elections and citizens responsibilities from infancy, while calling on the media to be unbiased in their professionalism and balanced reportage.
The NOA Director traced the lack of peaceful and non-violent elections to intra/inter party crisis aresing from absence of internal democracy, unstable political and economic environment, impunity of government officials, disrespect for the rule of law, hate speeches, fear of rigging, electoral irregularities, incompetence, biased management of the electoral process and non-adherence to previous agreement such as zoning formulas among others.