Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday appealed to the business community to be actively involved in electoral processes in the interest of all.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Yakubu made the appeal at an INEC/Private Sector Forum organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos.
According to him, the business community is a critical stakeholder in the success of the 2019 General Elections.
“The business community is one of the biggest beneficiaries of stable political and economic environment resulting from the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.
“It is also often a victim of political instability and unpredictable economic environment arising from flawed elections. Acts of violence often target businesses in a profoundly damaging manner.
“Uncertainty generally, and one arising from the conduct of elections in particular, is not good for business. It makes the task of safeguarding existing investments and attracting new investors more difficult,’’ Yakubu said.
According to him, flawed elections result in the flight of capital and expertise.
“Like capital, skilled manpower is unavailable in an atmosphere of rancour.
“Campaign promises by elected officials become difficult to actualise when businesses are dislocated.
“The fewer the job opportunities available, the more social problems become intractable, thereby affecting national cohesion, stability and progress,” he said.
The chairman said that the business community should not detach itself from electoral processes since elections would affect all Nigerians directly and indirectly.
“The business community has a stake in our democracy, of which the conduct of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections is an integral part. You are a major influence of public opinions.
“Since a good election is good for business, our appeal to you is to use your influence in doing advocacy for peaceful elections.
“You can imagine the impact of prominent businessmen and women active for peaceful elections. The impact on voter turnout will also be considerable,” he added.
Yakubu said that the commission had been patronising local industries in the production of sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections.
Yakubu said that INEC had worked hard to institutionise culture of planning, and gave the assurance that the 2019 General Elections would be peaceful.
He added that the commission would continue to deepen the use of technology, logistics and security to make elections credible.
Yakubu said that the power of incumbency no longer determined who would elections in the country, saying the 2019 elections would be free, fair and acceptable.
Mr Frank Aigbogun, the Publisher of Business Day, who spoke on: “The Responsibility of Media in 2019 Elections’’, said that the role of the mass media was not limited to electoral processes but included making elected officers accountable.
Aigbogun called on INEC to engage the media more.
The media professional urged the media to support INEC and electoral processes to deepen Nigeria’s democracy.
Earlier, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, the President of LCCI, said that private sector’s destiny depended on the political class, noting that political environment had great impact on business environment.