An advocacy group has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the supplementary elections slated for Saturday, April 15 to redeem its image.
Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advocacy Centre in Africa PAACA, Ezenwa Nwagwu also tasked stakeholders such as security agencies and political parties to view the supplementary election as another test of the integrity and commitment to free, fair and peaceful elections.
A statement by the group on Friday in Abuja noted that the supplementary election to be conducted will conclude the process and draw the curtains on the 2023 general elections.
It noted that PAACA in collaboration with other observer groups will observe the elections across polling units in Sokoto South Senatorial Districts where INEC will conduct the elections.
In its lineup of activities, its observers will be stationed to observe the setup and opening of polling units, accreditation and voting, counting and announcement of results at these polling units.
Nwagwu said these deployments will allow PAACA to provide an independent and objective assessment of the conduct of the elections.
“These supplementary elections are conducted as part of the 2023 general elections to conclude in locations where the commission had declared the process inclusive due to disruptions and infractions in the process during the February 25 Presidential and National assembly elections and the March 18 Governorship and States House of Assembly Elections.
“We expect that nothing will be left to chance, that the commission had maximized the opportunity of the one-month gap and would improve on its engagement of the process. PAACA expects the electoral commission and other stakeholders to uphold the provisions of the extant laws and the electoral guidelines and ensure hitch-free participation for all eligible voters. We also expect that voters will not be fatigued but make the best of the opportunity to make their voices heard in deciding who becomes their leaders.
“The commission should ensure the early deployment of its personnel and materials to polling units to enable the early commencement of polls.
“INEC election officials must ensure uniformity of consistency in the application of guidelines across all polling units. They should provide explicit information on accreditation, voting procedure, and the result collation process and announcement.
“INEC must improve its communication and engagement with election stakeholders. The Commission should improve its collaboration with election observers, CSOs, security and the media.
“INEC must be transparent and accountable to boost citizens’ confidence in the election process. Security agencies should collaborate with the commission to secure election materials, personnel and citizens.
“Security personnel deployed for the election should conduct themselves with the utmost sense of responsibility, professionalism and impartiality. They should be on the alert to forestall any attempt to circumvent the election using violence and intimidation.
“We call on voters in the locations where elections will be conducted to come out in their numbers and elect a representative of their preference. Eligible voters should go out and exercise their franchise, knowing that their votes matter and their votes will count, “Nwagwu noted in the statement made available to the media.