Bayelsa, Kogi: What Can Make Elections Credible–Group

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By Lucy Osuizigbo

Awka – The Voters Awareness Initiative has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to evaluate its performance at the general elections to ensure a smooth conduct of the Nov. 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi.

Mr Wale Ogunade, the convener of the initiative, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Awka.

INEC had fixed Nov. 16 as the date for the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi.

Ogunade said that the thorough audit and evaluation of the Feb. 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections and the March 9 Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections would make INEC to surpass its performance in the Nov. 16 elections.

“As one of the electoral observers in the general elections, we submitted reports concerning the challenges experienced during the general elections.

“We raised concerns about delay by electoral officials, political violence, insecurity, disinformation, missing or misplaced election materials, training, welfare and security of ad hoc election staff.

“INEC should look into those reports to improve on issues relating to the card readers, logistics such as moving of sensitive electoral materials and more importantly, training and welfare of ad hoc staff.

“Lack of commitment by some INEC ad hoc staff accounted for the difficulty in computing results in some areas.

”Because of the sensitive nature of the process, commitment is required from the officials.

“When INEC does this preparations early enough, we will have credible elections in Bayelsa and Kogi,” he said.

Ogunade pointed out that leaving any of the issues unresolved could likely affect the smooth conduct of the Nov. 16 elections.

He said that his organisation had commenced voter education in the states and urged the people of Bayelsa and Kogi not to give in to apathy as a result of the challenges experienced in the previous elections.

“Our organisation has begun voter education activities in the states and we implore all eligible voters to turn out enmasse and perform their civic responsibility in the coming governorship election in Bayelsa and Kogi,” he said.(NAN)

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