One lesson learnt from the declaration of Kayode Fayemi as Ekiti state governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was that the electorate voted for individuals and not for political parties, Catholic priests have said on Tuesday.
The priests under the aegis of Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) and Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), two agencies of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), therefore called on Nigerians to “study the antecedents of candidates in less known political parties and vote for them” in the 2019 general elections.
While congratulating Fayemi, the priests in a statement by Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey who is the International Director of CCFN and also Executive Secretary of JDPC, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for demonstrating transparency in the declaration of results.
They also advised all other parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to “accept their defeat in the good spirits of sportsmanship as was exemplified by Fayemi in his earlier defeat and by the excellent example of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who in our opinion deserves a Noble Prize for Peace by the very fact of his concession in the 2015 Presidential Election.”
The statement reads: “Caritas Nigeria and JDPC, the relief and development organs of the CBCN join well meaning Nigerians in congratulating Kayode Fayemi as governor-elect of Ekiti State in a keenly contested gubernatorial election.
“From reports on ground from our observers, INEC did a credible job, and if there was anyone that attempted to compromise the process, it was the two major political parties, with their strategy of vote buying. INEC has demonstrated transparency in the declaration of results, and we hope that leading to the 2019 elections, the same transparency would suffice.
“Let no one be deceived that Ekiti people voted for a political party; they certainly voted for Fayemi because they could compare his previous tenure with that of the outgoing governor. We use this opportunity therefore to urge Nigerians to, come 2019, vote for credible candidates irrespective of their political party.
“Nigerians should take time and study the antecedents of candidates in less known political parties and vote for them, so that we do not keep on recycling people with baggage that is inimical to the common good. Only garbage is good enough for recycling.
“Caritas Nigeria and JDPC once again urge politicians to be mindful of their utterances and their actions, as they may not be able to control the consequences. Whatever should promote goodwill and understanding should be pursued against a political space that is fast becoming a vent for insipid and infantile egoistic projections.
“We are however concerned that a nationwide election with a paucity of security personnel spread thin might throw a challenge to the outcome, as security men may be overwhelmed by party faithful who employ touts to carry out ballot snatching and other forms of rigging.”