Governorship polls: CTA cautions politicians against violence


By Michael Oche

Election observer group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has said the number of election violence witnessed during the Presidential election is scary and must not be allowed to fester during next Saturday’s governorship election across the country.

CTA Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi made the call while speaking in Asaba, at a stakeholders round table in preparation for the Governorship and House of Assembly Elections.

She urged politicians to respect the peace accord that they voluntarily signed, rein in their supporters, respect other candidates, not use abusive words and above all, to shun violence.

She said, “Security is a critical aspect of the electoral process that requires attention during the entire electoral process. However, citizens have had cause to worry over the ugly and alarming trend of burning INEC offices and materials in recent times as well as the violence that characterized the just concluded presidential elections held on 25th February, 2023.

She called for synergy between the police, the lead security agency on election security and other members of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCESS) to curb the security concerns ahead of the governorship elections.

She said, “We will be glad if the security agencies will share important information with the CTA and other stakeholders, especially on flash points and election security tips for citizens.”

Nwadishi also expressed concern about the dangers of misinformation and fake news ahead the polls.

According to her, “The social media has no doubts made communication easy in real time, but it also has its dark sides. Fake news hatched by unscrupulous elements to distort information and create chaos are often spread through the social media.
Before, during and after the presidential and National Assembly elections leading up to the declaration of the election results, different flyers and unsubstantiated news items were and are still being bandied about and spread across the screens .
We appeal that this should not be reinforced by the mainstream media in any guise. Neutrality by the mainstream media is key to dousing the negative effects of misinformation.”

Speaking further on preparation for the Governorship elections, she said: “One of the greatest challenges faced by INEC on election days is the movement of personnel and materials. This has severally hampered operations, leading to delay in commencement of elections. This ugly trend repeated on February 25, 2023.

“The incidences of late arrival of INEC personnel and materials led to late commencement of elections on that day. In some areas, voting went on till late in the night and in some areas, elections were postponed or outrightly cancelled. Recall that it was for this reason that the Commission signed the first MoU with the NURTW in January 2015. For ease of movement of materials and personnel on election day, INEC expanded this pool by bringing in NARTO and the Maritime Workers Union.

“A commendable move in the right direction. However, the question is, what went wrong on February 25, 2023? Hopefully, the transport unions here today will tell us what went wrong and the way forward.

“In the past, even with signed MOUs, some of the transport owners have played pranks that seriously jeopardized the electoral process and elections. This time around, in the words of the INEC chairman, “They must see their role as a national call to duty by ensuring that there is no failure on their part, especially on the eve of elections when it is too late for the Commission to make alternative arrangement”. Therefore, we appeal to the Unions to keep an eye on their members “to ensure that when they take personnel and materials to designated locations and also bring them back at the end of the elections.”