Abuja – An election observer group, Election Monitor, has called on the Federal Government not to interfere in future elections in the country.
Coordinator of the group, Mr Abiodun Ajijola, made the call at the public presentation of ‘’2015 Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship Election Observation and Research Guide’’ in Abuja on Thursday.
Ajijola said that situation where the government in power used its authority to impose its wish on the electoral process would not allow electoral law to prevail.
“In Nigeria, it is rare to see a sitting government not interfering in the electoral process,’’ he said, adding that it was only in the country that candidates were imposed on the masses.
He called on stakeholders to ensure that the upcoming elections in Kogi and Bayelsa were free, fair and credible.
Ajijola added that the lessons learnt from the 2015 general elections and the recommendations by observers of the process should be implemented for better future elections in the country.
He called for proper training of polling officers on the use of the card reader, adding that security agents should also be trained not to harass election observers and other officials and electorate involved in the process.
He also advised politicians not to instigate chaos and non-compliance with regulations by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In his speech, Mr Tunde Bafunsho of Justice and Equity Organisation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), called on INEC to ensure that card reader and manual accreditation were used in the coming elections.
Bafunsho also called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to mobilise necessary logistics that would encourage the Federal Government to approve electronic voting for 2019 elections.
He said that e-voting would increase the credibility of the Nigeria’s electoral process.
“Until we amended our election process and allow e-voting, INEC might not be able to use alternative e-collation system for election results.
“We have a lot in playing our role as CSOs to pressurise the government to amend the Constitution and allow e-voting; until that is done, INEC cannot do anything,’’ Bafunsho said.
He also called for adequate funding of INEC, saying ‘’it has been observed that even when INEC is well prepared for elections, there is always the case of underfunding of the commission by the Federal Government’’.
“How can INEC be called autonomous or independent when it is not properly funded? Adequate funding of INEC is important for the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy,’’ he said
He urged observer-groups to always be prepared and ensure that they played their roles effectively and according to the rules and regulations of the process. (NAN)