2023 elections may be in trouble, CSO raises alarm

Cross section of participants including party leaders at the briefing by INEC Chairman at International Conference Centre, hours after 2019 elections were postponed.

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has predicted that unless the country make enquiry, thoroughly investigate and address the lapses of what happened at the just concluded general elections, there may be serious disaster in the 2023 elections.

The convener who also doubles as the  Executive Director of Policy and legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) Clement  Nwankwo said unless the country and relevant agencies in charge of the elections answer what happened, we cant  count down to 2023 general elections.

At the Stakeholders Forum on Future of elections in Nigeria supported by the British Department of International Development (DFID) organized by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room yesterday in Abuja, Clement called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (), Security agencies for the enquiry as to what happened during the just concluded 2019 elections because there are consequences and if they it is not properly addressed, it means we all have wasted our time.

He said the nature of voters election was premeditated in 2019,there were challenges ,there was partisanship among the Nigerian army, election officials were threatened ,people were deliberated disenfranchise and displaced.

 “People were intimated and I think it is a good opportunity for us to ask questions ,it is not about blaming people ,I think is about people taking responsibility for the failures of what has happened .

“The civil societies must also take responsibilities for not finding the mechanism of investigating and reporting on the assurances that was given to us for its preparations .

“There were discrepancies about the numbers that are suppose to be on the voters register .2019 elections was a relapse compared to 2015, as civil societies we have the responsibility to ask questions to help save the institution.

“We  as civil society groups must work together to have an independent enquiry as to what happened during the just conclude general elections,” he said.

Also, the National Commissioner in charge of Voters Education and Information in the Independent National Electoral Commission () Festus Okoye said the meeting was very apt coming at a time when various court tribunals are taken on board elections petitions that are been filed .

 Okoye who was represented by the Chairman of INEC Mahmood Yakubu explained that ahead of the just concluded 2019 general elections, the commission organized trainings, engaged with political parties, CSOs, security agencies, etc.

He said the commission also reviewed the communication policies for 2019 general electoral elections, registered political parties, voter registration nationwide and produced voters cards, monitored party primaries,monitored procurement process, accredited international observers, among others.

He said the commission has also reviewed issues and challenges during the electoral process, addressing electoral offences ,review of electoral reports and submitted the reports to the National Assembly.

He assured that the commission will work with the National Assembly and propose a legal framework on critical issues that pose challenges to the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

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