CODE Tasks INEC on Improved Logistics for Kogi, Bayelsa, Imo Guber Polls

Mr Lawal said that CODE would deploy observers in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo and establish a situation room hub in Kogi for the Nov.11 poll.

Connected Development (CODE), a civil society organisation, has tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve on its logistics management, ahead of the Nov.11 Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo governorship elections.

Hamzat Lawal, the chief executive of CODE, said this at the presentation of the ‘Uzabe: Nigeria Decides Citizen Led Election Report’ and CODE’s 10-year citizen-led social accountability impact annual report in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Lawal, also the founder, ‘Follow The Money’, said that the target of CODE was to empower marginalised communities in Africa and to collaborate with government institutions to deliver improved public service.

He said the call for INEC to improve its logistics management was imperative because of the gaps observed in the 2023 general election.

He also urged INEC to explore the possibility of conducting all elections in one day to deepen transparency and credibility of the processes.

This, he said, was because the two separate election days for the presidential, national assembly and governorship, state houses of assembly election were cumbersome and expensive for the country and the citizenry.

“As CODE, if we are saddled with the responsibility of undertaking electoral management, first, we will invest heavily in logistics, which is one impediment.

“The second is human capital development and training of ad hoc staff in time, not a few weeks to elections, this is because these are two major gaps we faced in the last elections.

“This is an off-circle election so there should be no pressure on the commission,” he said.

Mr Lawal said that CODE would deploy observers in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo and establish a situation room hub in Kogi for the Nov. 11 poll.

He said the situation room would coordinate observers in the three states that would send real-time situation reports from all the local government areas in the states.

“Also CODE is expanding across Africa. In Liberia where we have follow the money, on Oct. 10 they will be going for their presidential and national elections.

“CODE will support civil societies in Liberia to deploy observers in the field. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and we will be working closely with the Federation of Liberian Youths to deploy observers.

“We will provide them with technical support, capacity building and a situation room to monitor the election,’’ he said.

Mr Lawal said that although there were electoral tribunals going on, there was no need for tension or for people to take laws into their hands, rather, Nigerians should have confidence in the judicial process.

“I think there is no need for any tension and there is no cause for alarm. I have confidence in Nigeria’s judicial process, and we will continue to support that process and ensure that nobody takes the laws into their hands.

“I also want to speak directly to young people. Democracy is a process Nigeria’s democracy is still emerging, we have made history by ensuring nobody toppled our democracy for over 20 years.

“I believe that we should build on the gains while working to close the gaps,’’ he said.

Emmanuel Njoku, the director, democracy and governance, CODE, said there was a need for INEC to seek more electoral reforms to capture some issues.

Mr Njoku said that for example, INEC needed to find a way for workers on electoral duty to vote, possibly by seeking reforms in the Electoral Act so that they were not disenfranchised.

He said INEC hired about 1.5 million ad hoc staff across Nigeria in the last election and all of them could not vote on election day excluding security agencies deployed on election duty.

“If these people on election duty get to vote, they will be more informed on how to vote but for over two million people not voting that is not good for our democracy and our elections.”


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