Zakaa Lazarus Abuja.
The United Nations (UN) on Monday charged Nigeria to conduct a credible, free and fair election in 2023.
Mr. Matthias Schmale, Resident Coordinator of the UN System in Nigeria, gave the charge while addressing the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja as part of the UN engagement with critical stakeholders in the 2023 General Elections.
He stressed that APC as the party in power should play its part in a good way to ensure a free and fair electoral process in 2023.
He said: “I’m happy to be here and for your warm welcome. Nigeria is a very important country in West Africa and the Sahel where I am responsible on the UN side. Nigeria of course must stand as an example for other African countries. We recognize that the election would be held next year in the country and our expectation is that Nigeria will be exemplary in West Africa and of course in Africa. West Africa needs good examples and if the example is coming from a big country like Nigeria it will be clear.
“We are to confer with our brothers and sisters from Nigeria. We just met with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and we plan on meeting with other actors with a simple message: we would like the next election to be free and acceptable by all. And you as APC, the party in power has an important role to play. We would as UN supporting you. The INEC is playing a very important role. We call on all the actors to allow the election to be conducted peacefully.
” There is a saying that “when Nigeria sneezes all the region catches cold.” So we like and hope that you will be the locomotive for the region. And this is the role we expect you as APC to play you part in a very good way. The UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel has and works with about 15 countries. We encourage good example when we see them and we know that you in Nigeria have multiple challenges. But I know also that Nigeria has a very great capacity in terms of resilience and I’m sure Nigerians will overcome the challenges.”
Speaking on behalf of the national chairman, Abubakar Kyari said the recent governorship election in Ekiti State is a referendum and a vote of confidence in the APC and a pointer to the 2023 general elections.
He said while the APC is committed to the ideals of democratic governance and observance of rule of law in all its undertakings, it shall continue to apply them diligently in canvassing for votes ahead of the 2023 polls.
Kyari said, “We wish to inform the SRSG that the APC is poised to go into the general elections in the country with commitment to observing the rule of law and intend to participate peacefully. Bring the ruling Party and one with the largest number of registered members numbering 43 million people, the APC has every stake in the orderly and peaceful conduct of the elections across Nigeria.
“The APC considers the gubernatorial election that recently took place in Ekiti State as a referendum and a vote of confidence in the Party and a pointer to 2023 when the Party hopes to form the government in the center and also in most of the states across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“The APC to assures the entire UN body through the SRSG that the APC is committed to the ideals of democratic governance and observance of rule of law in all its undertakings, and shall continue to apply them diligently while canvassing for votes and while it forms the next national government in 2023.
“APC is pleased to inform you of the progress made in Nigeria especially in the area of infrastructure development since the APC came into power in 2015. He should reaffirm the commitment of the Party to take Nigeria to higher levels of material and cultural development in the coming years particularly by the holistic implementation of the UN SDGs as well as the African Union Agenda 2063 and the AU Programme of Infrastructure Development (PIDA).
“The Party reiterates commitment of Nigeria to recharging of the Lake Chad as an urgent priority for the members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) which includes Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. He should also reiterate Nigeria’s desire to reinforce the LCBC Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) towards combatting terrorism and other forms of international crime across our common borders.
“The APC looks forward to further deepening of cooperation between the Office of the SRSG and the APC in all matters of governance towards advancement of ECOWAS, African Union and United Nations best practices.
“Finally, we wish the SRSG a successful visit to Nigeria and to urge him to feel at home because he is truly in his own country.”