The 2023 election is less than ten months away, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC the body entrusted by law to conduct this important duty in our democracy, have yet to demonstrate their readiness and ability to conduct a free and fair election.
In a press statement signed by Mr Oswald Okebata, President Turning Point Nigeria, TPN and released to the media through it’s secretariat in Abuja, Nigeria, 30th June, 2022.
According to the statement, Turning Point Nigeria as a social interest group and civil organization in Nigeria, TPN is pointing this out based on what is obvious happening across the country particularly in the Southeast region.
The scene at Michael Okpara Square in Enugu last week where large crowd of youths and people who were trying to obtain their PVC and INEC was not ready or able to attend to their needs. The same repeats itself in Ebonyi State.
Mr Oswald Okebata, President Turning Point Nigeria
We cannot have a democracy where eligible citizens are denied the right to participate. Most time the problem is voters lack of interest or voters apathy in voting but thank God in this 2023 general elections, the people are fired up and are ready to participate and vote.
According to Turning Point Nigeria, President, Mr Oswald Okebata, Based on what we have seen and the importance of 2023 elections to the entire stability of our nation Nigeria, we are calling on INEC to come out, show the country the level of their preparedness for this election in terms of the following, Staffing and Training, Equipment, functionality, Security and logistics.
Task is much, and INEC will need very help they can get from good civil society organizations like Turning Point Nigeria(TPN). The first step in getting help is knowing that you need help and asking for it at the right time, from the appropriate authority.
Nigeria government alone can only do so much, the leadership at INEC should also tap other resources within the country to enable them to deliver the best election for the people.
Any election where eligible voters where disenfranchised due to the inability of the electoral body to make provision for them to register and obtain their PVC on time for the election is not acceptable.
Our intelligence on the situation is showing that INEC problem right now are inadequate staff, equipment failure, and lack of strategic planning on how to carry out voter’s registration.
Online registration is very good idea but, in a country, where only 30% of its eligible voters have access to wifi and internet connection this alone could leave a lot of the voters unregistered.
The production of PVC card is not efficient and creates doubt if those registered will be able to obtain their PVC Card on time before the election in 2023.
Turning Point Nigeria have a blueprint plan on how to mobilize concerned none-political citizens to volunteer their skill to help with INEC staffing problems. Political parties are great resource for INEC to use in getting people registered.
They have the highest stake in the success of our election and should not be left out in all the process. When they are involved equally it ensures fairness and openness that will lead to trust in the system.
The equipment that will be used for this election must be sufficient, functional, and available, this mean that there will be more than enough to replace those that breaks down within moments.
Nigerians are tired of getting to their voting polling station on the day of the election only to find out that the material are not available, or the equipment are not working.
To avoid these preventable problem INEC should conduct a bi-weekly equipment audit, employ and train equipment managers in each state who will for all the equipment and material for the election in his or her state down to every polling station in the state.
Government agencies like INEC despite their big budget lack the system to assign individual responsibility to a particular staff this leads to collective blame when failure occurs.
Because we cannot afford any failures during this election. This important assignment should be given to well train staff and the appointment made public so that people will who they are, who them accountable.
They should be given all the resources they need to succeed. Turning Point Nigeria are in touch with many International Nongovernmental organizations that will be assists INEC in this mission.
A hatch free election will not be possible with inadequate security and logistic planning in terms of movement the staff and equipment to where they are need on time on the day of election.
The most important reliable security in a country is its citizens. The Nigeria Police Force is not enough for our election security, they may be seen as a bias force for the party in power.
We should completely discourage the use of the military during elections because their presence creates an intimidating atmosphere that leads to voters’ suppressions. Instead use community youth groups and social organization.
Their involvement in this process should start early, to iron out all the logistic to the process. INEC is in charge by law but the task of conducting free and fair election is for all Nigerian to play their part not only by voting by also in the planning and conduct of the election.