The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, has asked the nation’s institutions and security agencies to borrow a leaf from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the discharge of their responsibilities during elections in the country.
The Forum in a statement on Friday to congratulate Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State on his victory in the August 9 governorship election in the state, stressed the need for institutions and security agencies to be professional and avoid partisanship in the discharge of their duties.
It stated this against the backdrop of the clampdown on members of a particular political party before and during the election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), which later won the poll, claimed that about 150 of its members were arrested and harassed by the police and operatives of the State Security Service, SSS, on the eve of the Osun State governorship election as well as the Election Day.
But the Governors’ Forum argued that the nation’s security agencies belong to all Nigerians and should not be placed at the disposal of a particular political party.
“We urge all other national institutions and security agencies to emulate INEC, eschew partisanship and learn to discharge their responsibilities with professionalism. They should put their services at the disposal of all Nigerians irrespective of political affiliations”, the NGF said in the statement by its Director General, Asishana Okauru.
“Our security agencies are important national assets in which all Nigerians have stakes and must not only be fair to all parties during elections, but must be seen to be so”.
The Forum hailed the handling of the election by INEC, saying its near-perfect conduct of the exercise “gives us hope that the 2015 elections would most likely be free, fair and credible”.
It stated further, “We urge the commission to remain focused and continue to perfect its processes ahead of the forthcoming elections. We in the NGF are ever ready to partner the commission in whichever way we can to ensure that it delivers on its mandate”.
While saluting the people of Osun State for their conduct during the poll, the Forum also congratulated all the other 19 candidates and their parties for their peaceful conduct before, during and after the election, and for demonstrating a rare spirit of sportsmanship by accepting the outcome of the poll.
It added, “We urge them all to work with Governor Aregbesola in taking Osun state forward.
“The people of the state have made all Nigerians proud by demonstrating, again, that Nigerians, on their own can choose their own leaders on their own terms, in an ordered manner. The peaceful conduct of the election assures us all that the future of democracy is bright in our country.
The Forum called on Mr. Aregbesola to be magnanimous in victory as he continued to savour the joy of his triumph at the keenly contested election.
“He should consider the election as one in which there was no victor and no vanquished. We urge him to put behind him the acrimony and controversy that characterized electioneering in the state in the past few months and continue to work on his master-plan of giving quality governance to the people of the state”, it stressed.
The Forum urged other co-contenders in the election to be gallant in defeat and demonstrate the requisite large-heartedness to warm up to the governor to take Osun state forward.