President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collaborate with traditional rulers in educating the local electorate on voting modalities ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Buhari made the call while declaring open the 10th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) on Monday in Abuja.
He was represented at the occasion by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The theme of the Assembly is “Building a Synergy Towards Free, Fair, Credible and Violence-Free 2019 General Elections: The Role of Traditional Rulers.
The president said that there was need to build synergies that would engender free, fair and peaceful election.
According to him, the annual gathering of the royal heads of traditional institutions is timely and indeed, a blessing, adfing that the theme is most appropriate.
“This is because the role of your royal majesties and traditional institutions are crucial for connecting the people of your kingdoms and domains to the federal and state agencies responsible for the conduct of elections.
“The major purpose of establishing that link is to educate the local electorate or reinforce information that they may have about electoral processes as laid down by INEC.
“For example, INEC has said that in the forthcoming polls, voters will be accredited and then vote immediately after accreditation.
”This is different from the old method of accreditation first and then coming back hours later to vote; this must be well disseminated to all.
“Similarly, the use of card readers, the role of party agents and other electoral actors will require some explanation and some dissemination, especially where the rules have changed.
“And we expect that INEC will be working in close collaboration with all of our royal fathers in your various domains to ensure that not are you adequately informed, but also that your people are also adequately informed,’’ he said.
Buhari said that the role of security agencies was particularly crucial in curbing violence but that the backbone of effective security was quality intelligence.
He said that the most trusted repository of local intelligence was the royal father in his domain; hence the need for security agencies to work closely wiht tje royal fathers in handling security issues during the elections.
The president urged the traditional rulers rise to their responsibilities of guidance and counseling, to enlighten the populace to shun all forms of animosity, aggression, conflict and violence before, during and after the general elections.
He also implored them to moblise their people to participate by voting for candidates of their choice and parties of their choice at all levels without fear of molestation, intimidation or harassment.