• CTA urges CSOs, other stakeholders to register on INEC Election result viewing portal, shun fake news

Enugu: Participants at the South East regional stakeholders meeting on the 2023 general elections have frowned at the glaring absence of the Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC, Dr Chukwuemeka Chukwu at the event.

The REC’s absence at the program organized by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), an NGO with several years of expertise in election monitoring and related issues was conspicuous since most of the questions raised by participants were directed towards the electoral umpire.

tasked political parties’ candidates on issue-based campaigns rather than heating up the polity with campaigns of calumny and hate.

In her speech, the Executive Director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi, urged participants to shun fake news and register on the INEC result viewing portal so as to assess the exact election results in real time.

Nwadishi equally noted that vote buying and selling also undermines elections.

According to her, candidates should campaign based on issues and not heating up the polity as well as creating fears in the hearts of people who want to vote.

Nwadishi also urged security agencies to ensure adequate protection within the election periods, adding that expectations are high because of the keenness exhibited by citizens “whose interest is to ensure that their votes count”.

“The Centre for Transparency Advocacy, an accredited domestic observer group like many other stakeholders, is preparing for the election with the mandate to contribute its quota towards free, fair, peaceful, inclusive, conclusive and credible elections.

“To this effect, the CTA will be engaging various stakeholders to gauge the pulse and preparations of the citizens and the election management body – Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – towards the election.

“The 2023 General Election is upon us, in 42 days’ time, the Presidential and National assembly elections will be held on Feb. 25 across the 774 Local Government Areas, 8,809 electoral wards and 176,846 polling units in Nigeria.

“INEC in its style issued the notice of election on Feb. 28, 2022 and listed 14 activities, which we have observed that the commission is implementing and on course.

“INEC announced that 171 domestic, 18 foreign and 4 international organizations invited by INEC have been accredited as observer groups respectively,” she said.

She called for better synergy between the police, the lead security agency on election security and other members of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCESS) with stakeholders on election.

She urged security agencies to share important information with other stakeholders, especially on flash points as well as ensure their personnel are well trained on election duties.

She said: “The Centre, which has continued to observe elections in the country, including all the off-season elections leading to the 2023 general elections, will be observing this election by deploying observers across the 36 states and the FCT in Nigeria.

“These observers will be trained on election observation and adherence to INEC Election Guidelines. At this meeting, we have in attendance representatives from the five South-East States who will be observing the elections with CTA.

“The CTA will also be setting up an Election Day Situation Room in Abuja to receive reports in real time from the field observers”.

The executive director said that the meeting would provide an opportunity to have a conversation with stakeholders, examine critical issues and situations in relation to the 2023 General Elections.

“A key outcome expected from this meeting is the commitment from stakeholders to ensure peaceful, credible, free, fair, inclusive, and conclusive elections come February and March,” she added.
Some of the issues raised concerning INEC include allegations that some of the commission’s staff were requesting for money from people to collect their PVCs and that INEC staff in some rural communities were being discriminatory in distribution of PVCs , based on party affiliation.

Speaking, Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmed Ammani, represented by the Police Spokesman, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, assured the electorate and stakeholders of the commitment of security agencies to protect lives and properties during the election.

The commissioner enjoined all stakeholders to also play active roles in ensuring peaceful elections.

Stakeholders also raised questions about the neutrality of security agencies in the election.

In his remarks, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, the immediate past Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Enugu State, called for commitment from electorates to ensure violence free election, adding “you must sacrifice energy and time to get democracy right”.

“We need to make time for an incredible and violence free election in the country.

“It is not something that will happen at your own instance alone but on the instance of all,” he said.

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