• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Annan says Nigeria’s polls can make or mar stability of Africa

Annan says Nigeria’s polls can make or mar stability of Africa
The forthcoming general elections in Africa’s largest country, Nigeria, will make or mar the stability of the African region because of the role it plays in the region, Koffi Annan, former United Nations’ secretary general, said on Wednesday.
Internally displaced persons from the crisis in the North East region of the country will be allowed to vote wherever they have relocated to, Annan also said.
Speaking during a media briefing with select journalists at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Annan said the elections to take place in the giant of Africa has a global impact and more specifically the peace and stability of the African region. “You can make an impact on the world.
“What happens in Nigeria has great impact on the region and the world. As this election is important to Nigeria, it is also important to your neighbours in the region, so I hope there will be a very successful election, you can make Africa proud and I know you will”, he said.
Nigeria is the largest country on the African continent with a population of 170 million people. It also has one of the leading troops in the African peace keeping mission.
On a global scale, Nigeria was in 2013 elected a member of the United Nations Security Council.
Its major income source has primarily been oil and petroleum products, however, with the dwindling oil prices in recent times, Nigeria has started branching out into other sectors, mostly agriculture.
Annan further said following his discussions with the chairman of the Independent National Elections Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, displaced persons from the North Eastern part of the country will be allowed to vote. He said steps will be taken to ensure that they vote in the places they are camped or where they have relocated to, adding that the level of disenfranchisement will be reduced.
“Jega promised that he will take steps for the internally displaced persons to vote. So for instance you lived in Chibok and you have had to move and you are in a camp or another town, they will arrange for you to vote, from what he told me. Probably not everybody will get to vote but the level of disenfranchisement will go down if those steps are taken”, he said.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had on Tuesday disclosed that Nigeria currently has a total of 981, 416 internally displaced persons following insurgency, natural disasters and communal clashes in the country.
It is expected that if those of the voting age amongst the internally displaced persons are disenfranchised the election figures maybe lopsided as most of them had already been registered before they were forced to leave their zones.
Urging Nigerians to be part of the polls, Annan said despite the situation of unrest in the Northern part of the country, it is important that everyone is part of the process to make it right, as resigning to fate and standing back will only make matters worse.
“If you don’t vote and complain later, you will have yourself to blame”, he said.