Wednesday, December 1

Why religious leaders are crucial in Anambra poll – INEC

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra State has solicited support from religious leaders towards peaceful and successful conduct of the governorship election in the state.

The Commission urged clerics in the state to encourage their members to come out enmasse to exercise their franchise in voting for their choiced candidate.

Speaking on Thursday during an interface with the religious leaders, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji described religious leaders as opinion moulders with great influence on their congregation.

Orji, represented by Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Samuel Nimem, refuted the notion among some clerics that anything politics, including encouraging active participation of their members in election is not only dirty, but makes them partisan.

He said, “We decided to engage the religious leaders because we believe that they are opinion moulders. They have congregation that take their messages seriously.

“We expect them to relate to their congregants the importance of participating in the electoral process. It’s their civic responsibility to exercise their franchise to elect the governor of their state.

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“They shouldn’t say it’s not their concerns, but their civic responsibility as registered voters in the state. We’re not asking them to vote for any particular party, that will make them partisan.”

Reiterating government’s reassurances of maximum security before, during and after the elections, the REC urged the religious leaders to join hands with the security operatives to ensure free, fair and credible poll.

“Security is everyone’s concern and we must play our part to ensure we’re safe to participate in the election. Government has given enough assurances of adequate security and we have to trust them. INEC is ready for the exercise.

President, Penticostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Anambra state, Bishop Dr. Moses Ezedebego pledged the clerics readiness to convey the messages to their congregations towards a successful poll.

Represented by Admin secretary, Nwabunwanne Christian, Ezedebego said the church had not failed in praying for the election, expressing hope of a violent-free exercise.

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