By Jide Afolabi, Jos
The Plateau State Civil Society Organisations and Coalition of Domestic Observers in Plateau state for the 2019 General Elections have called for calm and peaceful coexistence after the governorship election was declared inconclusive.
The group made the call in a press conference held today, Wednesday at the Justice Development Peace Caritas, JDPC, hall in Jos, Plateau state capital saying that it was important to address the media given the inconclusiveness of the governorship elections and earlier Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituency elections which held on Saturday, March 9 2019.
While presenting its observations, the group said that it observed, “the elections were generally peaceful and orderly; early arrival of INEC officials, sensitive and non sensitive materials and early set up of Polling Units and Voting Points; early arrival of security personnel and early commencement of accreditation and voting by eligible voters.”
The Coordinator of the group, Mr Godwin Okoko said that, “Smart Card Readers in almost 98% Polling Units visited were functional compared to the challenges encountered in the Presidential and National Assembly elections; availability of original results sheets in all Polling Units visited and from our stationed observers and that Ad-Hoc staff acted more professional than in the Presidential and National Assembly elections as final results were pasted on the walls/designated areas in Polling Units visited and where we had stationed observers.”
The body however expressed concerns about the voters apathy witnessed in the Northern Senatorial district of the state.
The group sympathised with the family of the Corps member (ad-hoc staff) who died as a result of injury sustained in a ghastly motor accident during the exercise and other corps members who also sustained injuries and are presently receiving treatment while condemning, “unprofessional conduct of some domestic observers who came into Plateau state to observe the elections.”
The statement further stated that the group was concerned, “about the poor voters education in the state despite concerted efforts by CSOs and other state actors and heavy presence of armed soldiers in a civic function that seem to create fear in the mind of eligible voters.”
The group commended the Plateau state government for providing a peaceful environment for the conduct of the election’s. It also commended the INEC, security agent’s, CSOs/observer groups, media and the electorates in the state for their contributions towards a peaceful election.
The group however, recommended that, “INEC improves on the general conduct of the elections specifically; Smart Card Readers should be further enhanced; Collation Centres be more accessible to observers; further delineation of voting points be carried out so as to make PUs more accessible to electorates; improve on logistics for INEC officials and ad-hoc staff to perform their duties optimally; INEC and political parties should engage on sensitisation of the electorates and party members/supporters; enhance capacity training for security agencies that will be involved in future conduct of election exercise; INEC should make information/data available on cancelled Polling Units where supplementary elections will be conducted, and that INEC should ensure prosecution of all her staff involved in electoral mal-practice” among others.
The group said that it observed the elections across the seventeen (17) Local Government Councils in Plateau State and their members were stationed in more than 2, 500 Polling Units and in all Registration Areas Centres (RACs) and Local Government Areas Results Collation Centres as well as State Collation Centre.
“We had 12 roving observers in Northern Senatorial Zone of the state, 13 roving observers in Central Senatorial Zone and 15 roving observers in Southern Senatorial Zone of the state. They all moved and visited several Polling Units (PUs) across the zones.” He added.
The group called on voters to be be more actively involved in subsequent elections especially, the upcoming supplementary elections in the state.
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