Yiaga Africa, a Civil Society Organisation, on Thursday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure proper coordination and communication with transport companies and unions providing logistics support, to ensure early deployment of materials and personnel on election day.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Board Member, Yiaga Africa, said this during the group’s preliminary statement on the conduct of the Governorship and House of Assembly Elections, with support from European Union through its Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa believes that taking such measures would break the trend of late commencement of polls.
According to him, it was observed during the Presidential election that logistics challenges and disregard for the electoral guidelines undermined public confidence in the electoral process and outcome.
“INEC must ensure the shortcomings observed in the Feb .25 elections are properly addressed ahead of the governorship elections.
“This also includes the need to ensure that only trained ad-hoc officials are deployed on election day; contingency plans in situations where respective transport unions /companies withdraw from the contract or fail to deploy.
“INEC should ensure proper and timely communication with stakeholders on the election day process, challenges experienced and immediate plans to address those challenges to inspire citizens’ confidence in the process,” he said.
Nwagwu called on the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security (ICCES) to ensure that security personnel deployed comply with the code of conduct on election security.
He said this included professionalism in their conduct, arrest of electoral offenders and respect for the rights of citizens, media, and observers, including the right to freedom of movement on election day for duly accredited observers and media practitioners.
He also called on political parties, candidates and their supporters to commit to peaceful campaigns ahead of the election and on election day as well as refrain from vote-buying and compromising the secrecy of the ballot.
He urged voters to resist efforts to purchase their votes, to turn out in their numbers and vote according to their preferences on March 18 and remain peaceful during the election.
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa would deploy a total of 1,547 duly trained and accredited stationary and roving observers to observe the conduct of the gvernorship election in 28 states.
He added that Yiaga Africa would be deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to observe the governorship elections in Benue, Delta and Kano states.
He said this would involve deploying 900 stationary observers to a representative, randomly selected sample of 300 polling units for each of the states.
He said that Yiaga Africa would also be deploying 97 roving observers in the three states, 517 stationary observers and 33 roving observers in the other 25 states where the governorship elections would be held, to observe and report on the entire election day process.
Nwagwu said that so far, the team had reviewed reports of voter inducement in form of gift items, distribution of money and food items by political parties.
He listed other incidences that might affect the election as Naira scarcity, religious and ethnic tension, as well as low voter turnout, among others, and called on relevant stakeholders to do the needful.