A former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has said the standing of Nigeria in the Comity of Nations after the 2019 national elections will be determined by how the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Federal Government in general are perceived to have handled the polls.
Anyaoku said this on Tuesday at the unveiling of the new look Nigerian Tribune titles in Lagos.
Anyaoku, who was Chairman of a symposium that was organised to mark the launch of the new logo, which coincides with the 70 years anniversary of the Tribune titles, said the whole world was watching how INEC will handle the election.
The symposium at which the elder statesman spoke was titled: “Electoral Integrity, Legitimacy of Democratic Institutions and Good Governance.”
Anyaoku said that while INEC got commendation for its handling of the Anambra and Ondo States governorship elections, Nigerians criticised the electoral umpire for its handling of the subsequent Ekiti and Osun States polls.
He said in what he termed his “second observation” at the lecture: “INEC had earned the deserved compliments for its commendable handling of the gubernatorial elections in Anambra and Ondo States.
“But it must be admitted that it attracted criticisms for its conduct of the subsequent elections in Ekiti and Osun States.
“I urge INEC to remain aware of the fact that the credibility of the results of our forthcoming general elections will depend on the level of impartiality and transparency it demonstrates to ensure that all aspects of the elections are free and fair, thereby making the results to truly reflect the will of the Nigerian citizens.
“Indeed, the image and standing of our country within the international community will be significantly affected by how INEC and the Federal Government as a whole are seen to behave in all matters relating to the election.”
Anyaoku also expressed concern on the sanctity of human life in the country.
He said: “My third observation is on the current debasement of the sanctity of human life in our country.
“Last September to the end of November, I was in Harare serving on a high level commission, which the president of Zimbabwe was compelled to appoint following the death of six nationals in a protest that occurred after the country’s national elections.
“The death of six persons was considered a national tragedy and that aroused deep concern throughout the country.
“See what happens here in our country, Nigeria, that sometimes even more than 20 and the government and the people seem not to reacting commensurably to the situation.”