A Non Governmental Organisation, Kimpact Development Initiatives (KDI) on Wednesday commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Security personnel for the displayed of professionalism in the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Mr Bukola Idowu, Cordinator, Southwest Hub of Nigerian Election Violence Reports (NEVR) made this known to newsmen in Osogbo on the post-election reports across South-West States in the recent election held across the country.
He however called on the Federal Government to set up an Electoral Offence Commission that will be in charge of diligent prosecution of electoral offenders.
He expressed concerns over challenges that confronted the last Saturday’s election which are basically on logistics, smart card reader and issues that hinged on violence.
According to him, ” Security personnel conducted themselves professionally, yet there is the need for them to do more in the coming election on March 9.
” Officers deployed to polling units were few in numbers and not enough, looking at t he large numbers of voters and other instances of political thuggery.
” I believe more security personnel across polling units would help curbed any cases of election disturbances and also strengthened our electoral process, ” he said.
He praised the electoral umpire (INEC) for the success of the presidential election, adding that despite the challenges encountered, the umpire needed to do more towards the coming gubernatorial elections among others.
He said though, Kimpact recorded issues that are significant and that INEC did not strategically address despite the postponement of a week by the Commission.
“The cases of violence in the electoral process is disturbing, and Federal Government should consider setting up Electoral Offence Commission to prosecute and punish electoral offenders as INEC presently have no such power”.
He explained that most people believe that manipulation occurs mainly at the collation centres and that “since smart Card Reader could transmit voting result directly from PUs to the INEC situation room, INEC To embrace this transmitting process as the major way of collation instead of the manual collation process that is vulnerable to manipulation and human error.
“As it will erase officers that were fatigue, cut the long period used for collation and it will enhance transparency and openness IN the collation process”.
” We commended the electoral umpire for the success of the election but they need to look at the issue of logistics arrangements, smart card readers, and conduct of as hoc officers with the security of NYSC members, ” Idowu said.
He lamented that the Ad-hoc officer should be well scrutinised and adequate training should be given to them before assigning to the polls.
He finally requested that the security agencies should look into the cases of partiality displayed by some of their members, for the subsequent election they should be impartial, fair and ensure justice in the discharge of their roles during the forthcoming election as any act of partisanship can jeopardise the peace in the country.
The Coordinator who commended the Media for effective converge of the election and warned against fake news especially on social media which might likely truncate the electoral process if now checked.
Idowu, therefore, urged security agencies and INEC to probe cases of partiality displayed by some of their members in the presidential election to cured such behaviours during the forthcoming election.
Edga Oyakilome , Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in Osun also warned against sensational reporting by some section of the media.
” The media must be careful on what they push out to public consumption and should not report what might set the country ablaze.
Oyakilome said the security especially in Osun should be given a pass mark because the election was conducted peacefully despite little uproar which had been addressed.
Ven. Stephen Ojewande, INEC official ,Osun, said election is a conduct of our environment and urged journalists to improve in their conduct of elections.
Then INEC officer noted that media narrative should be able to bring issues as they are rather than being sensitionalise which could have positive influence on the citizens.
Ojewande, however, commended the security personnel for ensuring safety of lives and properties during the election and he urged stakeholders to support the umpire towards the success of the forthcoming election comes March 9.
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