June 24, 2024

YIAGA Africa urges credible LG election in Plateau

Yiaga commends EFCC on arrest of vote buyers

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Ahead of the planned local government election in Plateau State, the Executive Director of Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo has asked the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, PLASIEC to maintain the highest standard of integrity and resilience in its conducts of the election.

He spoke on Monday when he led his team on a visit to the PLASIEC Chairman, Plangji Cishak at the PLASIEC office in Jos where he promised to give the Commission the support to expand their capacity in delivering a credible election to the people at the grassroots.

Itodo noted the need for grassroots voters to be actively involved in the election once the date is fixed and stated that the Commission cannot afford to fail the people.

His words, “There are three things that the voters in Plateau State expect; they expect that when the date for the election is announced, officials would be at the polling units on time to enable them to cast their votes.

“They expect that when they cast their votes, the election results will reflect their wishes, the results are not manipulated and changed but reflect the vote they cast.

“They expect that PLASIEC resists every attempt of interference and demonstrates the requisite capacity to undergo your duties. The Commission has to pass the integrity, competency, and resilience tests.”

He stressed that although the Commission would face security, economic, political, and other challenges, “YIAGA Africa will continue to offer support in the areas of legal reviews to ensure electoral laws are consistent with the 2022 Electoral Act and initiatives to increase public interest and voter turnout in local government elections.”

The Executive Director calls for the maintenance of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) saying, “… safeguarding the operational and financial independence of SIECs through legal means is crucial.

“INEC has stated that it is overburdened with responsibilities. The task of conducting local council elections would exacerbate this. How can people be advocating for local government autonomy and at the same time calling for centralization of its electoral process, it is contradictory.”

Also, a Board Member of YIAGA Africa, Professor Nnamdi Aduba frowned at the call to scrap SIECs and called on the grassroots electorate to show interest in their leaders because if they don’t vote for who they want, someone else will vote for who they didn’t want.

He urged PLASIEC to set a good example in the conduct of the Local Government election assuring that YIAGA Africa can assist in training and mobilization.

Earlier, PLASIEC Chairman, Plangji Cishak, though acknowledging the enormous task ahead, assured that he would work with his team to ensure transparency and credibility.

He said, “We are studying the workings, we are seeing some deficits and we are working at correcting them. One of the first signs of integrity is openness to scrutiny. We have not closed our doors to interventions or the media. The lives and destinies of close to six million people are our responsibility.

“We are committed to having nothing less than credibility and global standards in the conduct of the local government election. We want to set the tempo that others will follow.”