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CSO worries over security personnel’s interference in electoral process

Mr Clement Nwankwo, a leader of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, has raised concerns over what he described as security agencies’ interference in electoral processes in the country.

Nwankwo, said at the quarterly meeting of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with Civil society Organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday in Abuja that interference of security agencies in elections was worrisome.

He commended INEC and the Inspector-General of Police for raising investigative panels on the Dec. 10, 2016 legislative re-run elections in Rivers.

“We don’t want to go back to pre-2010 where security agencies were perceived to be subverting electoral process,” Nwankwo said.

He added that CSOs would be happy to see INEC engage the security organisations on interference of their personnel in electoral processes.

He also advised INEC to devise a means of addressing the challenge that voters encounter as a result of restriction of movement on election days.

According to Nwankwo, this suggestion is important, especially for voters who reside at far distances away from their voting centres.

Earlier, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had reiterated the commission’s commitment to partner the CSOs in improving the country’s electoral process.

Yakubu described CSOs as strong partners in the development of electoral processes.

“For instance, since 2015 INEC concluded 167 off-season elections in virtually all the states of the federation.

“In the last two major elections we conducted in Edo and Ondo, INEC accredited 91 CSOs, which collectively deployed 5, 425 officers.

“From Kogi election to last Rivers rerun, INEC accredited 468 observer-groups and literally, they deployed thousands of personnel.

“The highest deployment was in Kogi followed by Bayelsa, FCT, Edo and Ondo states,” Yakubu said.

He added that the reports of CSOs during the elections were also helpful in fine-tuning some of the electoral processes and procedures.

He said that in some of the actions the commission had taken, it had implemented some of the recommendations even if we don’t credit specific CSOs.

“At the end of the day what is more important is to have viable democracy and election process rather than individuals taking credit,” Yakubu added.

 


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