Abuja – The Coalition of Civil Societies on Electoral Matters has called on the security agencies to be on the alert and prevent any plans to foment trouble in the lead-up to Kogi governorship election.
Mr Mike Femi, the Executive Director of the society, gave the advice on Sunday in Abuja when he presented a preliminary report of the society on the election.
He said that the advice became imperative as the society, in collaboration with some local partners, had monitored political campaigns from their inception, with a view to evaluating the situation on the ground.
He said that the society also engaged some individuals to collate comments and document actions of the main actors as the preparations toward the Nov. 21 governorship election gradually reached a crescendo.
“Our pilot findings indicate that there is a likelihood of induced violence, few days to the election so as to warrant the deployment of soldiers and State Security Service (DSS) personnel to the state.
“We suspect from our findings that inflammatory remarks were contrived to provoke the deployment of soldiers for the election with the intention to compromise them under the guise of instructions from above,’’ he said.
Femi said that the society was mindful of the determination of the current Army leadership to restore strict professionalism to the force, citing the probe of some perceptible aberrations during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections as a pointer to that effect.
The executive director said that the society considered it expedient as a concerned body to alert the Army authorities of the plot of some politicians in the state in the lead-up to the election.
Femi urged President Muhammadu Buhari to regard the Kogi election as a litmus test for his electoral integrity.
He, however, vouched for Buhari’s integrity, saying that the society was confident that the president would never succumb to any plot to use the armed forces or any state institution to subvert the electoral process and the people’s will.
“It is, however, imperative for the president to make a categorical pronouncement on the coming elections in both Kogi and Bayelsa States, urging all the political actors to eschew violence,’’ he said.
Besides, Femi also urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to pay particular attention to the ongoing campaigns in the states.
He advised INEC leadership to monitor the campaigns and take necessary action against any political party or political actor found making inciting comments.
“We dare say that the era of impunity is over and INEC must maintain its neutrality; it should improve on the standards set by its immediate-past Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
“With a new leadership in place, we urge the new INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to let his actions be strictly guided by the constitution and the Electoral Act,’’ he said.
Femi also called on the international community, through the international election observer missions, to monitor the Kogi election, being the first election under the Buhari-administration.
“This is necessary to preserve the investment of the international community in the Nigerian electoral process, while strengthening it,’’ he said.
He particularly advised political parties to promote nation-building efforts, adding that the society had been reaching out to political parties and politicians in Kogi so as ensure the peaceful conduct of the election.
Femi pledged that the society would present its final report on the election’s assessment, at least four days prior to the election date. (NAN)