Stakeholders, comprising election observers, civil society, security personnel and the media have commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the level of preparations so far ahead of the October 10 Ondo governorship election.
This was part of conclusions reached at the end of a one-day meeting organised by the Centre for Transparency and Advocacy (CTA) and contained in a communiqué signed by Executive Director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi.
According to the communiqué, participants at the meeting also articulated ways to ensure that the poll is transparent and peaceful, saying that citizens and stakeholders must work together and support INEC for a credible election while also demanding accountability from those they have voted for
The Participants commended INEC on the series of training it has conducted for security agencies and consultation with other stakeholders on the electoral process, and for issuing in a timely manner guideline for the conduct of the election in the context of Covid-19 pandemic.
They however expressed concern over the use of hate speeches at campaigns by politicians, warning that these are precursors to violence. They also expressed worry that political parties and actors show disregard for the Electoral Act and the electoral processes.
The participants therefore agreed to work towards synergizing and partnering with citizens and critical stakeholders for a credible, free and fair election in Ondo State.
The participants commended the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for its role in grassroots voters education, as well as the security agencies on their diligence in ensuring adequate security ahead of the poll.
Reacting to concerns over the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, they stakeholders said the COVID-19 might lead to voter apathy.
They call for deployment of more Health Personnel to polling centers and units on Election Day, as well as timely and adequate deployment of security personnel.
The communiqué reads further, “Security agencies should be strict and decisive by calling politicians to order while political parties should sign a peace accord and make a commitment towards a peaceful election and failure to do so; relevant security agencies should prosecute those found culpable.
“That INEC should collaborate with health personnel to ensure the protection and safety of voters and election workers in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The judiciary should take responsibility in collaboration with INEC to train their officers to help the electoral process.
“That there should be reforms and modification of our relevant laws, in particular, the Electoral Act.
“INEC should continue with the prosecution of electoral officers who go contrary to their mandates, Security agencies should arrest and prosecute unauthorized persons found with prohibited firearms. There should be no sacred cows.”