From Muhammad Guiwa, HOD VEP, Sokoto
Worried by the increasing phenomenon of hate speech in the both the mainstream and social media, the Resident Electoral commissioner (REC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sokoto State, Malam Sadiq Abubakar Musa has urged the leadership of Faith Based Organizations (FBO) and religious leaders to stem the tide by preaching against it.
The REC made the appeal when a delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Sokoto Chapter, led by its chairman, of Rev. Father, Nuhu Iliya paid him a courtesy visit in his office on 4th April, 2018.
He pointed out that hate speech, if unchecked, was capable of derailing and truncating the nation’s democratic progress achieved within the last 18 years. He said it was also capable of heating up the polity and could suffocate the electoral space. He called on the religious leaders to use their influence and preach against it.
His words: “I urge you to use your good institutions to preach against hate speech as well as promote tolerance among the people of divergence views.”
He assured the visiting chairman and his team of Commission’s determination and resolve to providing a level playing field to all stakeholders in the electoral process. He also called on the clergy to mobilize their followers to take the advantage of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration and obtain their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to enable them make their choices in the 2019 general election.
Earlier in his address, Rev. Father Iliya explained that they were at INEC to cement the existing cordial relationship between the Commission and Christian community in the state. He said: “We are here to support INEC and express our gratitude for carrying us along in its activities, particularly the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration”.
He also informed the Resident Electoral Commissioner that they have mobilized their people to participate in the ongoing CVR. The Rev. Father commended INEC for its continuous engagement with stakeholders and the open-door policy. He assured the REC of his commitment to the promotion of peace and progress.
At the end of the visit, the REC presented voter education material to the visitors and thanked them for the visit.