70 civil society groups to monitor INEC, security operatives and political parties during Edo 2016 governorship election.
By Awharitoma Abavo, Benin
The Nigeria Civil Society said to be consisting of over 70 groups has said that it would be keeping eagle eye on proceedings in the Edo Governorship Election holding Wednesday, 28 September 2016 through its ‘Situation Room.’
The body at a media briefing early in the day [Tuesday] in Benin, the State capital, said that the action becomes necessary towards helping to ensure a free, fair, and credible election.
Coordinator of the Group, Clement Nwafor said that it has deployed its observers across the 18 Local Government Council Area of the State who will be fielding the Situation Room with constant updates.
The Situation Room will be live on air 24 hours until the results are announced, he said.
The Group will be holding INEC responsible on how well it handles the following:
Early distribution and deployment of personnel; timely opening of poll; knowledge of proceedings by personnel; voting procedures particularly the efficacy of the Smart Card Readers; and the collation process, which has always been a concern for the Situation Room, will be a special area of focus especially the transparency of the process, Nwafor stated.
Continuing, he said that it is the constitutional right of voters to stay back and to ensure their votes count and are counted hence mandate protection is key to the success of the polls and should be guaranteed.
“Where INEC leadership fails to keep an eye on their staff during the collation process, the Situation Room will hold the Commission accountable.”
Also, the Situation Room will monitor performance of the various security agencies especially having assured that they were ready to optimally carry out their constitutional responsibilities without fear or favour.
“The security agencies will be monitored in the following area; the exercise of restraint in dealing with voters and avoidance of acts of intimidation, inappropriate use of force and other acts capable of undermining the electoral process.
Other area security will be monitored includes; actual presence and deployment of personnel reflective of the 25,000 personnel said to have been deployed for the election.”
This is as how well the welfare of security personnel has been handled will be closely monitored; the Group said adding that the Situation Room will be observing the security agencies’ actions that threaten their non partisanship.
“The Situation Room calls upon the political parties to conduct themselves in a manner that does not encourage violence by their supporters, as they will be held liable for their activities that trigger violence,” the body warned.
Urging the Edo State Government to assure voters of their safety, the Group enjoined them to go out and peacefully cast their ballots in the exercise of their right to be part of the democratic process.