The Electoral Hub, a civil society organisation, has called on political parties and candidates to adhere to the ideals of democratic contests during the Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi governorship elections.
Director of the organisation, Princess Hamman-Obels, made the call in a statement on the off-cycle governorship elections.
Hamman-Obels said abiding by the ideals of democratic contests would serve to prevent electoral violence and ensure a credible process rooted in the principles of electoral integrity.
She said the hope for hitch-free process rooted in the principle of electoral integrity would only be achieved through the optimal performance of all stakeholders involved in the electoral process.
She said that complexities arising from electoral contests in the states had already resulted in litigations and nullifications that altered the election cycle in those states.
“It is therefore necessary that stakeholders act concertedly towards upholding ideals of electoral integrity and credibility to ensure that the outcome of the process reflects the will of the people.
“The Electoral Hub has observed amongst others, security issues across the three states, preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), activities of public office holders, state ministries, departments and agencies and those of civil society actors and citizens.
“We urge duty bearers in the off-cycle elections would exert utmost effort to ensure a seamless contest.
“Complexities arising from electoral contests in the state have already resulted in litigations and nullifications which have altered the election cycle in these states.”
Hamman-Obels said it was, therefore, necessary that stakeholders acted concertedly towards upholding ideals of electoral integrity and credibility, to ensure that the outcome of the process was widely accepted, reflecting the will of the people.
She said that prior to the off-cycle governorship elections, the pre-election discussion had been centered around the growing insecurity and the violence reported across the three states.
She said that this had resulted in the prediction of voter apathy, vote suppression, and voter disenfranchisement.
She said this made it a necessity for security agencies to deploy every tool at their disposal towards preventing and containing security and violence threats.
“Efforts should be concentrated at preventing an outbreak of violence at identified hotspots such as in Kogi State: Dekina, Ankpa, Ijumu, Igalamela-Odolu, Okehi, Ajaokuta, Okene and Ofu LGAs.
“Bayelsa State: Brass, Nembe, and Southern Ijaw LGAs and Imo State: Orlu, Ehime Mbano, Oru West, Oru East, Ngor Okpala, Abor Mbaise, Ideato North, Oguta, Okigwe, Orsu, and Njaba LGAs.
“Importantly, security personnel deployed for electoral duty in these states should conduct themselves professionally and impartially, avoid unwarranted use of force, and ensure the overall orderliness of the process.”
Hamman-Obels called on parties and contestants to adhere to ideals of democratic contests, play by the rules guiding contests, and to dissuade their supporters from engaging in violence and other electoral offences.
She called on political office holders, especially governors, as well as the media in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, to adopt an unbiased and non-partisan stance.
She urged the media to adopt fact-check mechanisms to prevent the spread of false news and avoid the spread of sensational information capable of inciting violence.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria