Kogi/Bayelsa election: YIAGA AFRICA releases third pre-election observation report

Kogi/Bayelsa election: YIAGA AFRICA releases third pre-election observation report

- The governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states are just a few days away

- Nigeria's leading election observer group, YIAGA Africa, has released its third pre-election observation report on the elections

- Recommendations were also made on aspects on the elections that are in dire need of improvement

Election observer group, YIAGA Africa on Tuesday, November 12, released its third pre-election observation report on the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

The civil society organisation in its findings, noted that the key issues facing the Bayelsa and Kogi 2019 are; indicators of violence, violation of electoral codes, and activities of the Independent National Electorla Commission (INEC) and political parties.

The group also raised the alarm on the issue of the threat of the likelihood for politicians to weaponize the elections.

In its recommendations, YIAGA AFRICA stated that:

1. INEC should nip in the bud the increase in purchase of PVC and voter details calls and develop an oversight mechanism on election day to prevent manipulation of the voter accreditation process. In addition, INEC should in collaboration with the police commence arrest of politicians going about requesting for PVC and voter details.

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2. The need for INEC to intensify its voter education as the election get closer especially with respect to voting procedure and messages on INECs plan to ensure credible election to build citizens’ confidence in the process.

3. INEC needs to ensure proper coordination with the security agencies to guarantee the security of polling officials and INEC staff especially the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to be deployed on election day.

4. INEC needs to properly communicate its plans to ensure that voters in polling units affected by flood can vote. This should include information on where and how these voters in the affected polling units will vote.

For security agencies

5. For a peaceful election, there is an ardent need for better inter-agency collaboration and cooperation between both the security agencies towards the elections especially on election day in hot spots already identified in riverine areas in Bayelsa and LGAs identified in Kogi states.

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6. Security agencies working on the elections should ensure that all personnel deployed are properly trained.

For political parties

7. Political parties and candidates should focus on issue-based campaigns rather than the shameful act of purchasing PVCs and voters’ details.

8. Political parties and candidates have a role to play in ensuring peaceful elections and should desist and refrain from recruiting thugs, militants, cultists, criminals, etc. to deploy violence.

9. Political parties should promote issues-based campaigns and conduct voter education as part of their role in building our electoral democracy.

For citizens

10. Citizens should guard their PVC and voter details because the PVC is the only identity card that guarantees their right to vote on election.

11. Citizens should work with security agencies by report incidents or threats of violence, or perpetrators of violence.

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Moshood Isah, media officer of YIAGA AFRICA, recently wrote on the early warning signals of voter inducement and electoral violence threatening to affect the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

Isah noted that the chaotic end to the recent stakeholders meeting in one of the states, organized by INEC towards ensuring a free, fair and credible governorship election is not sending the right signals ahead of the November 16 elections.

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