The African United Journalism Awareness Centre, a pro-Journalism and Democracy Non-Government Organisation, on Saturday cautioned politicians to eschew campaign of lies and violence in the interest of the nation.
The President of the Centre, Jackson Akpasubi, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos as campaigns for 2019 general elections commenced.
NAN reports the Presidential and National Assembly elections campaign begins on Sunday, according to the timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Akpasubi, who urged politicians to be truthful to the electorate, said that Nigerians had sufferred enough from the campaigns of deceit and violence.
According to him, building a united and prosperous nation requires sincere campaign promises from the political players.
He said: “Without being pessimistic, we are not impressed by things we see before elections. We need to control what we push out as politicians and journalists.
“Let’s not have elections where political players put in lies, promising what they are not going to do and going about campaign with violence.
“Politicians should not tell Nigerians what they are not going to do.
“Our campaigns this time must be devoid of lies and violence. Nigerians must demand the truth from politicians; they should not be taken for a ride any more. We have suffered enough lies.”
He urged INEC to improve on efforts to hand over violators of electoral process to security agents, saying that it was the INEC’s responsibility to call police and other security agencies to arrest electoral offenders.
He said: “INEC cannot be watching politicians doing what they want to do without check and recourse to electoral laws. They must play the rules of the game. Electoral offenders must be reprimanded.
“INEC must sit down with politicians, show them guidelines for campaigns and enforce such guidelines strictly with the help of the security agencies.”
He added that the main difference between Nigeria and other developed countries and fast-growing African nations, is the level at which laws are being enforced and offenders prosecuted to ensure sanity.
He said: “It looks like there is no law, there seems to be no punishment for violators of laws. If our laws are weak, let’s strengthen them so that we can do things right.
“If any politician violates campaign laws without any punishment, they tend to continue in the act. Politicians should be cautioned and prosecuted.”
He said the centre was out to inform and educate journalists, people and politicians on the need to change approaches in 2019 elections, to get different positive results.
He added: “We have been in this quagmire for so many years and we cannot be doing same thing the same way and expect different results. The madness that has bedeviled our democracy must stop.”
He urged journalists to put politicians and electoral umpire on their toes.