The Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) has raised concerns over possible threats to the successful conduct of this year’s general elections, saying that those issues must be urgently addressed to ensure the success of the polls.
The IDFP is a 120-member national interfaith and intercultural organisation that promotes religious and ethnic unity.
The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III; and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, are the co-grand patrons of the forum.
Newly elected co-chairmen of the forum, Rev. Amos Kiri and Dr. Yusuf Yakubu Arrigasiyyu, at a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja listed security threats, scarcity of naira notes, and divisive politics among others as issues that must be addressed.
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Thw group said, “Nigeria’s politics is greatly divided across religious, ethnic, regional, and political party lines. The emerging trend of religious leaders, political actors and groups openly endorsing candidates based on primordial sentiments portends a threat to democratic ideals.
“These actions are further deepening the divide between groups and creating a sense of disillusionment among the citizenry. Since the rollout of the new naira notes, Nigerians have suffered untold hardship in their attempts to access the new currencies for their daily needs and businesses.
“The naira redesign may have been intended to help the economy but ordinary citizens have faced the brutal brunt of this policy. The elections are set to take place against a backdrop of violent conflicts, armed banditry, terrorism and heightened insecurity across more than two-thirds of Nigeria’s landscape.
“Similarly, the culture of impunity for abuses by security forces and other actors during the general elections remains a concern. There have also been security threats from multiple groups across the country who have been trying to undermine the elections.
“Past elections have witnessed incidences of poor delivery of election logistics in transporting materials to all polling units at the stated time and this time, the issue may be compounded by the issue of fuel scarcity.”
The forum said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should ensure proper functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and for candidates to accept the outcome of the elections.