By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) has said public concerns on security might present setback to the Anambra Gubernatorial polls if not addressed.
LEADERSHIP Reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is scheduled to conduct the governorship election in Anambra On Saturday, 18th November 2017.
In a statement to LEADERSHIP jointly signed by the Chair YIAGA Watching the Vote (WTV) Working Group Hussaini Abdu PhD and its Executive Director, Samson Itodo, it said the YIAGA WTV is closely monitoring events as they unfold, with respect to INEC’s preparedness, engagement with all stakeholders, as well as the conduct of all stakeholders with statutory responsibilities towards the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.
The statement revealed that “In the context of election security, the Nigeria Police is deploying about 26,000 of its personnel to provide security for the elections in Anambra State, in line with its statutory responsibility of ensuring security and public safety throughout the election period in the state.
The statement however noted that it is in the light of the foregoing that the YIAGA WTV is concerned about security issues, which are capable of undermining the credibility of the elections if not addressed
The statement particularly stated that there are public concerns about the level and extent of cooperation between INEC and security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Police which might present a major setback on the security of the election if not addressed;
It noted security relating to the safety of citizens, election observers, as well as the deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the polling units and urged that balance be struck between the deployments of security with citizens’ participation in the electoral process.
In its effort the YIAGA WTV is therefore recommended the need for greater synergy and collaboration between INEC, the police and other security agencies for the success of the election, stating that the integrity and credibility of the 2017 Governorship election in Anambra state could be threatened if election security is not guaranteed.
It added that “The police and other security agencies should ensure security deployment is commiserate with level of threat that the police and other security agencies should be impartial and professional in the discharge of their duties by ensuring that their mechanisms for public safety would guarantee security for the people.
Adding that this will help in assuaging fears over insecurity that might undermine the prospects for violence free elections in Anambra State as it noted that YIAGA is convinced that with three days to the election, important steps can be taken to guarantee eligible voters are able to cast their vote in a safe and secure environment.
The statement added that the YIAGA WTV is a citizens movement dedicated to enhancing the quality of elections in Nigeria. It added that the Initiative is accredited by INEC to observe the 2017 governorship election in Anambra state, even as it added that it is deploying 529 carefully selected, trained and accredited stationary citizen observers to a representative random sample of 250 polling units located in all 27 LGAs.
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