Election Observers’ Debriefing Session on Wednesday, 27th of February 2019 (Presidential and National Assembly Election 2019)

06 March 2019 by Election Reports 293 Views
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Election Observers’ Debriefing Session on Wednesday, 27th of February 2019

On Saturday, 23rd February 2019, voters across Nigeria went to the poll to elect the President, 109 Senators and 360 Members of the House of Representatives. CIEPD set up an ‘iReport’ platform linked to the ‘Conflict Watch Centre’ (https://ciepdcwc.crowdmap.com) in partnership with other CSOs to verify and validate electoral violent incidences, track the trend and patterns of electoral incidences, analyse the consequences of impact of the reported incidences and come up with appropriate strategies for intervention. Although the Presidential and National Election was relatively peaceful in River State, some of the areas that were considered violent, emerged less violent as anticipated while others fitted into already anticipated patterns and trends. The following grouped line graph is a summary of incidences reported by the trackers on the platform.

Capture

The review of the election observers proffered the following suggestions on some of the issues that emerged during the period for possible actions to be taken on the learning, and thereby making the next round of elections to be more free, fair and more credible.

Communities

The Platform commends those communities in Rivers State that have been able to reduce incidents of election violence by bringing together key political actors within their communities to agree and support peaceful elections in their communities.

The platform is calling on Traditional Rulers and Persons of notable Influence in violence prone communities to immediately initiate peace accords in order to arrest and prevent violence and malpractices that may lead to loss of lives and properties in the forthcoming election.

We further call on communities to conduct advocacy meetings against election violence before the next election; 9th March 2019 .The said community advocacy should promote the peace campaign “Vote! Not Fight".

The Platform regrets the takeover of community governance structures by different cult groups in Rivers State, which is a potential cause of electoral violence and killings. As such, we call on the traditional rulers to purge its governance structures of cultists or any affiliation with cult groups in order to promote neutrality and objectivity in decision making.

Security

The Platform firmly demands security agencies in charge of elections to operate within the confines of the law and calls for preventive policing such as mobbing of arms, securing of local borders, stop and search exercise etc. in order to reduce incidents of violence.

The Platform also calls for an independent panel of inquiry to be set up to investigate immediate and remote causes of electoral violence and killings attributable to the activities and actions of the security agencies and operatives.

INEC

The Platform noticed thousands of incidents of void/cancelled/rejected/invalid votes during the presidential election; an indication of poor voter education by both INEC and the National Orientation Agency (NOA). Therefore we urge INEC and NOA to extend its vote education exercise to the rural and remote communities.

The Platform observed that the criteria set by INEC for the recruitment of ad hoc staff for election purposes was not strictly adhered to.

The Platform also noticed that some INEC ad hoc staff do not adequately understand the processes, and procedures for conducting elections and so, the need for such ad hoc staff to be re-briefed before the 9th March 2019, on who is to vote, how to vote, and how to count.

The Platform strongly suggests that INEC official be discouraged from visiting political party officials on election days with election materials. We further insist that partisan individuals who identify with political parties should not carry out critical INEC duties.

We recommend that special security arrangements should be made for all INEC’s ad hoc staff before, during, and after elections especially the Youth Corp members.

INEC staff on official duties should be properly identified.

INEC officials on election duties must follow travel safety rules and regulation both on land and along water ways (to avoid night sailing, in order to prevent incidences similar to the unfortunate case of Mrs. Ibisaki Amachree)

INEC should engage more election monitors than observers. Election observers do not direct election procedures. They only observe.

Political Parties

The Platform noticed that some party agents stood for their party and other parties. As such we insist that such malpractices that is capable of undermining the electoral process be terminated forthwith.

Political parties should abide by the electoral guidelines. 

Government

The Platform urges the government to strengthen its criminal justice system and the zeal of the police to enforce its directive against vote buying and other electoral offences. 

The Platform unequivocally demands the prosecution and sanction of any person found committing any electoral offence whatsoever. 

Conclusively, the platform calls on all the stakeholders in the electoral process (INEC, SECURITY AGENCIES, OBSERVERS, POLITICAL PARTIES, POLITICIANS, and COMMUNITY LEADERS ETC to evaluate its shortfalls and make effective improvement in the upcoming elections of 9th March 2019.

List of Organizations

  • Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD)
  • Youth Rescue International Development Organization (YRIDO)
  • Youth Alliance on Constitution and Electoral Reform (YACOR)
  • Lekeh Development Foundation (LEDEF)
  • Ogoni Joint Youth Leaders Council
  • Leading and serving without bitterness initiative
  • Leading and serving without bitterness initiative
  • Ofure Centre for Peace and Development
  • Support Initiative for Sustainable Development (SISDEV)
  • Ubon Akwa Youth Association for Peace and Progress. River State Branch
  • Applicants Welfare & Development Centre
  • Center for Environment Media and Development Communication, (CEMEDE)
  • Manpower Development and Environmental Protection Initiative
  • Courage NNa - Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL)
  • Initiative for Sustainable Peace and Entrepreneurial Development
  • Imitative for Community Development (ICD)

Signed:

Egondu Esinwoke

On behalf of the above organizations

CC:

Signby all

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CIEPD

The Conflict Watch Center (CWC) is an intervention of the Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development designed to identify, track and report on conflict early warning signs in the Niger Delta.

Website: www.ciepdcwc.org

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