2019 Polls: TEKAN Urges Nigerians to Protect their Votes
By Ralph Madugu
The Fellowship of Churches in Nigeria otherwise known as TEKAN, has called on its members and other Nigerians to protect their votes to ensure that leaders who will bring sanity and sanctity to the nation are elected to power.
TEKAN, an umbrella body of 15 denominations with traceable evangelical ancestry, theological affinity and Christian believes made the call in an 11-point communique signed by the TEKAN President, Rev. Dr. Caleb Solomon Ahima, and TEKAN General Secretary, Rev. Moses Jatau Ebuga, issued at the end of its 64th General Assembly held at the EYN Headquarters in Hong, Adamawa State, recently.
TEKAN said that being mindful of the forthcoming general elections in the country and the challenges associated with them, “the Assembly calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to honour his commitment to conduct free, fair and credible elections.”
The fellowship added: “The Assembly is sad that vote buying and selling is becoming the order of the day and calls on Nigerians to avoid vote selling and buying in whatever form and encourages INEC and security agents to ensure the prosecution of those found wanting.”
TEKAN therefore urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain impartial, transparent and ensure that the wishes of the people are respected in all the elections and called on security agencies to be professional in discharging their statutory duties and not to be partisan or seen to be partisan.
It called on political parties, candidates and supporters to conduct themselves in a manner that would guarantee peaceful coexistence of the country even after the elections, by avoiding inflammatory statements or engaging in activities inimical to peace.
The Assembly also called on the youth to reject being used for any form of violence and other behaviours capable of destroying their dreams and ambitions for the future.
TEKAN said: “The Assembly calls on Christians and all well-meaning Nigerians to be more committed to prayers for the forthcoming general elections and peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, region and religion.”
On national security, the Churches acknowledged the effort of the Federal Government in reducing the activities of the insurgents and reclaiming some of the local government areas in the north east that were under the control of the terrorists but challenged government to do more to stop the persisted activities of the terrorists and ensure the return of displaced persons to their homes and provide them with needed relief measures and financial support to rebuild their destroyed homes and worship places.
The Assembly expressed regret dissatisfaction that, despite several calls and agitations from well-meaning Nigerians and organizations, particularly TEKAN, to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the true reflection of Federal Character in the appointments and operations of the security apparatus in the nation, he had remained indifferent, adding that the unbalanced appointments were largely responsible for the interminable state of insecurity in the country.
On prosecution of perpetrators of human rights abuses, TEKAN demanded for what it termed “concrete action on the prosecution of the perpetrators of attacks on the communities”, and rejected the situation where victims were turned into perpetrators happened in Kaduna, Benue and Plateau states.
While appreciating governments’ effort in providing food to the nation through improved agricultural mechanization and creating jobs to the youth through the N-power scheme, the TEKAN expressed concern at the deplorable state of the nation’s economy and charged government to step up the said activities and also provide credit facilities and the enabling environment without barriers for young Nigerians who have potentials and willing to go into businesses to excel in their chosen careers.
The Assembly also called on civil society groups, Nigerians and all constituted authorities not to relent in the fight against gender discrimination and other dichotomies which had placed women at the disadvantage in terms of training, job selections and descriptions due to cultural and social constraints to ensure self-enhancement, self-emancipation and self-reliance of all citizens without borders.