The Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, Dr. Benson Olugbuo flanked by other staff of the foundation during the briefing held in Abuja.
…tasks INEC, security agencies on free, fair, Non-Violent elections
By Emmanuel Elebeke
As the 2019 general elections draw closer, CLEEN Foundation says it is partnering with Oluaka Institute Owerri and the United Kingdom to deploy an election monitoring application for the 2019 general elections.
The Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Dr. Benson Olugbuo, made this known at a media parley to herald a weeklong celebration of its 20th anniversary.
Dr. Olugbue said the deployment of the app would enable the Foundation carry out effective monitoring of the election, especially the security agencies, who had in recent elections displayed partisanship in the line of their duties.
He however promised that the Foundation will train some security agencies and journalist on proper conduct during elections to prepare them ahead of the 2019 general election in order to forestall a repeat of the lapses observed in the recent state elections.
He therefore, called on the electoral management body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to play by the rules, be impartial, non-partisan and professional throughout the conduct of the elections.
He said a free, fair, transparent, inclusive and violent free election is possible when citizens engage aspirants in fruitful dialogues and campaigns are issue-based devoid of hate speeches or inflammatory statements.
‘‘We are collaborating with Oluaka Institute and the UK government to develop a software to monitor security incidences for us to have effective monitoring of the elections, reduce vote-buying, hate speech, rigging and rigging.
”In addition to this, we are going to deploy 1500 observers to help monitor the elections but before that, we are going to train them.”
Dr. Olugbie insisted that our votes must count and that Nigerians expect the Federal Government to create an enabling environment where citizens will freely exercise their rights to participate, vote candidates of their choice without fear of retribution or violence.
‘‘For some of the elections we have witnessed, I will not be able to say the results have been very good or it have been very bad. In some of the areas, we have witnessed where security agencies performed reasonably well, in some of the elections, we also witnessed where they did not do well.
‘For instance, from our own assessment of what happened in Osun state, Anambra and Ekiti, security agencies were moved from place of comfort to place of discomfort. In the main election in Osun, we gave the security agency a pass mark, but during the re-run, we had to change our mind because we noticed some irregularities.
‘‘This is a time of celebration. It is also a time of reflection. We celebrated the return of Nigerian democracy in 1999, and believe it is still the best system of government that enables citizens to exercise their rights through free and fair elections.
‘‘As the 2019 general elections draw closer, we call on all Nigerians to ensure free and credible elections. We urge the electoral management body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to play by the rules, be impartial, non-partisan and professional throughout the conduct of the elections.
‘‘A free, fair, transparent, inclusive and violent free election is possible when citizens engage aspirants in fruitful dialogues and campaigns are issue-based devoid of hate speeches or inflammatory statements.
‘‘Our votes must count and Nigerians expect the Federal Government to create an enabling environment where citizens will freely exercise their rights to participate, vote candidates of their choice without fear of retribution or violence. We call on all Nigerians to ensure free and credible elections.’’
According to election threat assessment conducted in 12 states of the federation by the Foundation, Olugbuo identified hate speech, drug abuse, extremists, election management body and security agencies and rigging as major threats for 2019 general elections.
On the anniversary celebration, the CLEEN Foundation ED, said the Foundation was originally founded by Mr. Innocent Chukwuma in 1998 as the Centre for Law Enforcement and Education in Nigeria with the first direct support grant of 1000USD from the Netherland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 1998.
He listed some of its earlier success stories the establishment of community policing forums in 14 local government areas drawn from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria; reactivation of the Police Public Complaints Bureau(PCB) in four states; developed guidelines for police officials on electoral duty and monitoring of police conducts from 2003 – 2018 general elections among others.
In furtherance of its mission statement, he noted that CLEEN partner with government agencies including the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Armed Forces, civil society organizations, international organizations, development partners, the media and the organized private sector etc.