Don’t Be Partisan in 2019 Polls, CSOs Warn Security Agencies

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Ahead of the 2019 general election, civil society organisations (CSOs) have called on security agencies, especially the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) not to join partisan interest to subvert the electoral process.

The CSOs made the call Thursday during a meeting with the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

Speaking on behalf of the 43 CSOs present at the meeting, Mr. Clement Nwanko of Policy and Legislative Advocacy Centre (PLAC) expressed concerns over the credibility of the permanent voter cards (PVCs) and the distribution process.

He said while there have been improvement in the electoral process over the years, there are still some concerns with the process, but assured Nigerians that the CSOs would continue to engage with INEC and raise concerns where they are identified.

According to him, “One of those concerns relate to the credibility of permanent voter cards (PVCs) and the distribution process. There are large number of PVCs that are uncollected. We are worried that there are large number of people who want to register but have struggled in doing so. Although, we are also worried that some may be registering in double rather than seeking the commission’s aid in transferring their registration from one point to the other.”

Nwanko stressed that the CSOs believed that the commission is working very hard for all stakeholders in preparation for the elections; not just in Ekiti and Osun that are approaching, but also the national elections that are coming up in February next year.

He stated: “We also want to point out to the commission that it is a major stakeholder in the election, but there are other stakeholders — the police, the DSS. The security services need to know that their role is to support INEC, not to join partisan interest in the elections to subvert the process and civil societies will keep an eye on this and call out where it is necessary.

“When they (security agencies) come with an agenda to disrupt the elections, we will call them out. So, the police have to be prepared to know that they must deliver on its own part of supporting INEC creditably.”

Nwanko stated that the CSOs would keep an eye on the commission’s activities to ensure it delivers on its promises.

Earlier, the INEC chairman said it is unfortunate that there is still the fixation in certain quarters that INEC officials are involved in deliberately perverting the processes and procedures for partisan considerations.

He however challenged those making the allegations to approach the commission with evidence of any potential or actual infractions for remedial action in the interest of the country’s democracy.

Giving an update on the Continuous Voter Registration, he said the consolidated figures as at June 22, 2018 showed that fresh registration has hit 9,922,619, while a total of 576,346 have been collected, 489,354 request for transfer and request for replacement of PVCs is now 766,435.

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