Democracy is the best form of government and elections play a pivotal role in a system of representative democracy. It also serve as ingredient of development, where it is properly conducted, that encourage inclusivity and participation of all.
It is worrisome, that the current government in Kogi State deliberately refused to conduct Local Government elections since the expiration of elected local government chairman and councillors since 2016. All hope where put in place when the current Kogi State Independent Electoral Commission was constituted in the first quarter of 2020.
The commission on September 9th, 2020 release a timetable which stipulated that elections shall be conducted in the 21 Local Governments and 239 wards. The election was held as stipulated on the timetable with all forms of electoral malpractices which does not meet international standard of conducting election in this century.
– Pre-elections activities indicated that not much was done by KSIEC ON Civic and Voters education.
– Political Parties did not conduct transparent Primaries that produced candidates that participated in the elections.
– Materials where not distributed to the wards on time, which made it difficult for electoral materials to reach their respective Polling Units
– On the day of Elections, several
Polling Units did not receive materials as at 8:00am, contrary to the Notice of Poll released by KSIEC on the 23rd of November, 2020 that voting shall commence by 8:00am
– It was also noticed across the state that several polling Units did not received materials at all, as election officials were not available to conduct the elections.
– We notice the presence of Security Personnel at the Polly Unit, which include the Nigeria Police, Immigration, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence etc.
Few Observers were also deployed.
– Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) did not do much in the usual mobilizations of the citizens for participations in the elections as a result of inadequate resources.
– No technology were deployed by KSIEC, as card readers were not used in this modern age of technology which encourage the malpractices that were noticed.
– KSIEC does not maintain permanent offices in all the Local Government in Kogi State.
– KSIEC did not produced ICT materials, and even postal to indicate the location were elections are to be held.
– We notice there was no loss of life, as witness during the Governorship elections in Kogi State.
– For us all to conduct free and fair elections in Kogi State, all stakeholders, particularly KSIEC should take note of the above observations and make necessary adjustment.
– KSIEC should establish as a matter of urgency offices in all the 21 Local Government and train personnel to be there.
– Adequate materials and equipment should be purchase by KSIEC to assist them to conduct Free and fair elections subsequently as another elections is due in 2023 as we can repeat the same mistake witness during this elections that was conducted on the 12th December, 2020.
– We call for investigations into the disappearance of election materials and officials that where never at the Polling Unit. Anybody find guilty should be punish to serve as deterrent to others.
– We call on political parties not to take laws into their hands and seek redress in the election tribunal that was setup by the Judiciary.
*IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL,*
Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR),
Lokoja, Kogi State.
*14TH December, 2020*