Elections: NPSA tasks INEC on logistic arrangement, test of equipment before deployment

Ahead of February 25th Presidential election, the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) has tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make proper logistics arrangement and ensure that technological equipment are tested before deployment.

NPSA recommendation was contained in a communique issued on Friday at the end of its two day roundtable discussion tagged: “Attaining Electoral Integrity in 2023 General Elections: Pointers to Policy” which held in Abuja

The group of Nigerian political scholars explained that electoral integrity is the conduct of elections based on legal framework that promotes and protects the right of citizens to directly choose those who make decisions on their behalf within a time limit, and implementation process that is efficient and consistent with international best practice, as well as an environment that is conducive to fair choice, fair contest and credible outcome.

NPSA held that Nigeria can have electoral integrity when the critical stakeholders respect the electoral laws guiding electoral conduct throughout the electoral cycle through which a collective will of the people is achieved, adding that “electoral integrity has a critical citizen-action content in the electoral process”.

NPSA President, Professor Hassan Salihu who read the communique on behalf of the group noted that “electoral integrity also depends on the existence of real, impartial opportunities for addressing grievances.

They lamented that “the environment under which the forthcoming elections would be conducted leaves much to be desired. The period is currently characterized by fuel scarcity, the challenges of currency re-design, and increasing poverty rate, among others.

In line with the theme of discussion, NPSA noted that democracy is a journey that thrives in positive commitment of significant and concerned citizens that require the patience of all to stay on the cause of democracy as it remains the only viable option.

The communique read in part “the idea of Interim Government and various permutations that support it, constitute an unnecessary diversion and a negation of democratic rights of Nigerians to periodically choose those who lead them. The idea should be allowed to die immediately.

“Democracy in every social formation evolves, and oftentimes with identifiable high, moderate and low periods of gains and losses. Our current situation is, no doubt very challenging, but it also provides the people of Nigeria ample opportunity to arise and renew fervent commitment to Nigeria’s call.

“After the scheduled elections have been taken place and new government in place, there is need to engender functional federalism, inclusive power-sharing arrangement among others.

“There is the need for new policy options to address all facets of security challenges to give confidence to Nigerians in exercising their franchise during the elections.

“Logistics arrangement for the 2023 elections should be properly met to ensure more participation of Nigerians.

“The various technological devices that INEC is planning to deploy in 2023 elections should be well tested for effective functioning during the elections.

“Recruitment and training of ad-hoc electoral officers should be done properly and timely to avoid hitches during the elections

“There should be aggressive enlightenment programmes by INEC and other stakeholders in dispelling all manner of misinformation about the elections”.

NPSA charged the judiciary as the pillar of democracy to be more circumspect and be prepared to resist pressure from politicians.