By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Oyo State, Barrister (Dr.) Mutiu Agboke has charged politicians, stakeholders and people of the state to cooperate, work together and allow peace reign supreme among one another, especially as the 2023 elections draws nearer.
Dr. Agboke gave the charge at the INEC 2021 Christmas Carol programme which took place at the commission’s premises in Ibadan.
Addressing guests and friends of the commission at the programme, Dr Agboke said the purpose of the Carol was to show reasons and the need to come together as one in the state irrespective of religious differences.
According to him, INEC has been able to establish the point and it is something that should continue, just as he charged the people to change the narrative of hatred among one another.
He said INEC shall continue to use its platform to improve the state, adding that in 2019 the commission assured that their votes would count and it was so.
“In government parastatals, we are one, whether Muslims or Christians, that is what we have been able to achieve today and it is something that should continue.
“The Carol programme shows love, commitment and togetherness which we have seen so far. We are using this festive period to tell our people that the year 2022 is so close by and it is a year we need to prepare at a full-blown for the year 2023 ahead of the election.
“I urge the people to go and participate in the ongoing Continuous Voter registration exercise and collect their Permanent Voter Card ahead of the election so as to make their vote count.”.
Dr Agboke who hinted that he would not be in the state to conduct the 2023 elections appealed to stakeholders to show love to one another and allow love to radiate in their activities especially as the 2023 election is approaching.
He said at this point, political parties should endeavour to do rancour free primaries and show love to one another adding that whether direct or indirect primaries, INEC is always ready to observe what the law says.
“I want to assure you that our mandate is to conduct free and fair elections and this will reflect the desire of the people.
“The era of writing results and snatching ballot papers has gone. The era we are now is the era of transparency and beavered.
My message for the people of Oyo State is cooperate and learn how to do the right things. We now have a standard, the votes of the people reflected the result in 2019, that is the standard of democracy.
“The era of fabricating results ha gone, people should watch INEC, there should be collaboration among the stakeholders such that will help reflect good results.
Asked why he would not be in the state in 2023, Dr. Agboke said: “For me, I don’t wish to be here in 2023, I have conducted an election successfully and with standard. I should just leave when the ovation is loudest, so that there will be more ground for others to test there worth. If have another opportunity, I prefer to go else where., he added.
In his message and special prayers for the commission at the programme, Pastor Bayo Owoseni of the Gethsemane Prayer Ministry urged members and staff INEC to be diligent in service in order to move the commission forward.
Speaking on the topic, “The participation of Civil Servants in good governance,” the clergy stressed that only sincere and quality commitment from civil servants can bring meaning development to the establishment and the workers in particular.
He then encouraged them not to join bad wagons in their various establishment to do evil things that will slow down the pace of progress and development. He buttressed his message with Genesis chapter 39 verses 20 to 23.
The Carol which was anchored by popular comedienne, Lepacious Bose had members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Correctional Centre and many other dignitaries in attendance.