- BY AYODELE ABERE in Ado Ekiti•
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room is currently in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital and has deployed observers for the State Governorship election scheduled for Saturday 14th July 2018.
Over 70 civil society organisations (CSOs) are represented in the Situation Room and the room would rely on its field observers, networks, partner organisations and observers distributed across the 16 local government areas of the state as contained in the statement issued out at a press briefing held on Friday at Delight Hotel, Ado-Ekiti.
On the eve of the governorship election, Situation Room’s observation is focused on INEC’s preparedness at the RAC level regarding materials and logistics and to observe the security arrangements in terms of deployment, welfare and conduct of security personnel.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it is ready for the election and Situation Room will be holding INEC accountable for its state of preparedness, as the significance of the Ekiti State Governorship Election cannot be over emphasised especially as Nigeria marches towards the 2019 elections
The Situation Room will also be observing the conduct of the security agencies. At this time, the Situation Room notes the statement of the Nigeria Police that it is prepared for the elections and has deployed adequate personnel and materials for the exercise.
From the SR first impressions, it would like to state as follows: INEC’S distribution of sensitive materials to Local Government Area has gone on very well and under control.
The situation in the state is calm and peaceful on the eve of the elections Citizens are carrying on regular life.
Situation Room’s observation of the performance of the security agencies will include.
The exercise of restraint in dealing with voters and avoidance of acts of intimidation, inappropriate use of force and other acts capable of undermining the electoral process.
Actual presence and deployment of personnel reflective of the 30,000 Police personnel and other personnel said to be deployed by the security agencies for the election and that security personnel are well catered for before, during and after the elections.
Situation Room calls upon the political parties to conduct themselves in a manner that does not encourage violence by their supporters, as they will be held liable for their activities that trigger violence.
The Situation Room also calls on security services; including the Nigerian Army, Police and other arms to assure Election Observers and the electorates of their personal safety and urges voters to go out and peacefully cast their vote to exercise their constitutional right and be part of the democratic process.
The statement reads ‘We reiterate that all elections must demonstrate the highest possible commitment from the Security Services to support INEC in completing its constitutional role of organising credible elections that can inspire continued public confidence. The Situation Room on its part commits to the highest possible standards of election observation and support to the electoral process.
Prior to this time, The Nigeria Civil society Situation Room has organised a Town Hall meeting of Ekiti State Election stakeholders ahead of the election, which was aimed at dousing tension and building a peaceful and non-violent atmosphere for the conduct of credible Governorship Elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Situation Room is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria and includes such groups as Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), CLEEN Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI), Enough is Enough Nigeria, and WANGONET.
Others are Partners for Electoral Reform, JDPC and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) as well as others like Development Dynamics, Stakeholders Democracy Network, Human Rights Monitor, Election Monitor, Reclaim Naija, Nigeria Women Trust Fund, CITAD, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE) and several other CSO’s numbering more than seventy.