Connected Development (CODE), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct Saturday’s election in a manner to restore Nigerians’ confidence in the commission.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of CODE, made the call at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, ahead of the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly election.
Lawal said that the group had trained and deployed 20,000 observers for the 2023 elections through its Uzabe election observation platform.
He called on INEC to seize the opportunity of Saturday’s election to redeem its image by ensuring that the challenges that marred the credibility of the Feb. 25 Presidential election were corrected.
“With the deployment of Uzabe technology for election observation, we recorded many cases of widespread irregularities.
”We hope that these issues have been tackled by INEC and come March 18, citizens will be allowed to exercise their civic duty without unnecessary hitches and glitches.
“There’s also cause to point out that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and IREV technologies put a lot of faith in the electorate and this forthcoming election is another opportunity for INEC to ensure that their technology is functional .
“INEC should also ensure that its guidelines on the usage of BVAS are adhered to; this is a call to INEC to restore the citizens’ confidence in our democracy. ”
According to Lawal , another crucial issue to address in the forthcoming election is the percentage of voters recorded for Presidential and National elections.
He said that at 27 per cent, Nigeria recorded its lowest voter turnout in spite of recording a total of 87.2 million Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) collected.
Lawal said that reports from CODEs observers indicated there were many cases of technical disenfranchisement across the country such as lack of materials and late arrival of INEC officials at polling units.
He said that the proposed Oro festival announced by the traditional ruler of Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom in Lagos State, Saheed Ademola, might disenfranchise voters.
Lawal therefore called on the Lagos State government and law enforcement agencies to address and put a stop to any activity that could threaten the turnout of the voters on election day.
Meanwhile, Mr Emmanuel Njoku , Director, Democracy and Governance, CODE, called on Nigerians to pay attention to the collation of results at the ward level to tackle fraud.
According to him, the ward is the most important link in the collation process.
Njoku said that the claim by some politicians that there was no law making it mandatory for INEC to transmit electoral results electronically was false.
” Section 148 of the Electoral Act, gives the electoral body the power to make guidelines and regulations to ensure the full effect of the law.
“Section 60 (5) of the Act states that the presiding officer shall transfer the results including the total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot in a manner as prescribed by the commission.”
Njoku urged INEC to ensure that results were uploaded to its IREV portal in order to boost the credibility of the governorship and State House of Assembly elections on March 18.