A group of ranking Nigerians from the Academia, civic and religious institutions wants Saturday's elections to be conducted with the goal of producing "legitimate outcomes" that will be widely
accepted.

The "Nigerian Working Group on Peace-building and Governance", Thursday appealed to all relevant stakeholders, citizens included to conduct themselves peacefully and with integrity during the polls.

It specifically asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to uphold the sanctity of the electoral process and its outcomes.

"This must include transparency and frequent, clear, robust communication with Nigerians on all aspects of the
commission’s work," the group said.

In a statement jointly signed by His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) and six others, the NWGP also tasked political candidates, party officials, and supporters to avoid actions that would undermine the credibility of the electoral process or lead to a breach of
peace.

Successful elections in Nigeria can provide a more solid footing for political
harmony and stability both within and beyond the country, the group said.

The statement reads in full:

9th March 2019 Elections: Public Appeal from the Nigerian
Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance

Dear Esteemed Fellow Nigerians,
On Saturday 9th March 2019, we will once again exercise our civic
rights and responsibilities as citizens to elect our Governors and
Members of the State Houses of Assembly. Despite some of the
hitches experienced during the Presidential and National
Assembly elections that took place on Saturday 23rd February 2019,
we demonstrated our collective resilience as a people, through our
commitment to peaceful elections. Such commitment should be
carried over to the 9th March 2019 elections.

The members of the Working Group on Peacebuilding and
Governance in Nigeria, composed of civic and religious leaders,
wish to reaffirm their appeal to all institutions and citizens to
conduct themselves peacefully and with integrity, with the goal of
elections that produce legitimate outcomes that will be widely
accepted.

We also reaffirm our call to INEC, the political parties and their
supporters, and Nigeria’s security forces, that they have their
respective critical roles to play in the period leading up to the
elections, during the voting, and in the aftermath:

• INEC must continue to provide a level playing field for all
candidates, parties, and voters in order to uphold the
sanctity of the electoral process and its outcome. This must
include transparency and frequent, clear, robust
communication with Nigerians on all aspects of the
commission’s work.

• Political candidates, party officials, and supporters must
avoid behavior and actions that would undermine the
credibility of the electoral process or lead to a breach of
peace.

• Security institutions must uphold the principles of
professionalism and respect for human rights at all times in
the discharge of their duties. They must also ensure absolute
impartiality and avoid any action that could be seen to cast
doubt on their detachment.

The Working Group is of the strong conviction that successful
elections in Nigeria can provide a more solid footing for political
harmony and stability both within and beyond the borders of the
country.

In this regard, we commend the civil society, development partners and the international community for their
roles in supporting Nigeria and amplifying its citizens’ voices in our pursuit of peaceful, free, and fair elections that provide the foundation for state legitimacy.

Signed:

• His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto
• Cardinal John Onaiyekan
• General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd)
• Ambassador Fatima Balla
• Prof. Ibrahim Gambari
• Dr. Nguyan Feese
• Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim
• Dr. Chris Kwaja
• Mrs. Aisha Muhammed - Oyebode
Abuja, Nigeria, 4th March 2019.