Abuja, November 9, 2023 – As the electoral drumbeat grows louder in anticipation of the upcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo States slated for November 11, 2023, Tap Nitiative for Citizens Development, a civil society organization, call upon the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make an unwavering commitment to conduct elections that are free, fair, and transparent. It is a pivotal moment, and the spotlight is on transparent result collation and announcement processes, robust security measures, and unwavering vigilance to safeguard the voters, election officials, and all stakeholders before, during, and after the elections.
In our quest to ensure the utmost transparency and accountability in the electoral process, we issue an ardent demand that the result sheets from every nook and cranny of local government areas bear the signature of the INEC Chairman, countersigned by electoral officers from each Local Government Area (LGA), and overseen by the Resident Electoral Commissioners. Transparent and verifiable result collation and announcement processes are non-negotiable in upholding the sanctity of the electoral system.
To fortify the safety and security of voters and all participants in this electoral odyssey, we beseech INEC to foster an unwavering partnership with security agencies. It is imperative to deploy security measures that shield against violence, intimidation, and the ominous specter of fear, thereby fortifying the citizen’s unassailable right to vote without trepidation.
Furthermore, the clarion call rings out for INEC to amplify its efforts in voter education and outreach programs. We recognize that informed voters are empowered voters, and they must be educated about the electoral process, their rights, and the weighty significance of participating peacefully in this electoral exercise.
Our apprehensions deepen concerning allegations against the current Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo State, which cast shadows on potential conflicts of interest and impartiality. We invoke INEC’s sacred duty to launch a comprehensive investigation into these allegations. If substantiated, we implore INEC to consider the withdrawal of the current Resident Electoral Commissioner, a necessary step to restore the integrity of the electoral process.
The upcoming governorship elections on November 11 in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo States stand as an unassailable cornerstone of our democratic tapestry. Their sacred charge is to faithfully reflect the will and aspirations of the people. These elections must unfold in an atmosphere of unblemished peace, unshackled freedom, and unwavering fairness, safeguarding the integrity of our electoral institution.
We acknowledge the trials and tribulations that INEC has weathered in previous electoral contests and beckon the commission to embody a steadfast commitment to transparency and accountability as it sets its sights on these forthcoming governorship elections. The stage is set for INEC to rebuild public trust in the electoral process and to champion the cause of ensuring that the votes of Nigerian citizens are accurately counted and safeguarded.
With the pivotal election day drawing near, we unite with other civil society groups to implore INEC to address these concerns comprehensively, holding high the torch of electoral integrity and credibility in the vital battlegrounds of Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo States. Together, we yearn for these elections to be the turning point in the redemption of public faith in our electoral system.
Mbasekei Martin Obono, Esq
Tap iNitiative For Citizens Development