connected Development (CODE), a civil society group, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with improving logistics management ahead of the gubernatorial elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo on November 11.
CODE’s Chief Executive, Mr. Hamzat Lawal, stated this on Monday 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.
According to Lawal, who is also the creator of Follow the Money, the goal of CODE is to empower underprivileged people in Africa and to partner with government institutions to provide better public services.
Because of the gaps found in the 2023 general election, the demand for INEC to strengthen its logistical management was critical.
He also asked INEC to look at the potential of holding all polls on the same day to increase openness and legitimacy.
He said that this was due to the two distinct election days for the presidential, national assembly, governorship, and state houses of assembly elections being inconvenient and costly for the country and citizens.
“As CODE, if we are tasked with undertaking electoral management, we will first invest heavily in logistics, which is one impediment.”
“The second is human capital development and training of ad hoc staff in advance, not a few weeks before elections; this is due to the fact that these were two major gaps in the previous elections.”
“This is an off-circle election, so there should be no pressure on the commission,” he explained.
Lawal stated that CODE will deploy observers in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo, as well as set up a situation room hub in Kogi, for the November 11 election.
He stated that the situation room would coordinate observers from the three states who would submit real-time situation updates from all of the states’ local government regions.
CODE is also spreading in Africa. On October 10, Liberia, where we have been following the money, will have presidential and national elections.
“CODE will assist Liberian civil societies in deploying observers on the ground; 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 technical assistance, capacity building, and a situation room to monitor the election,” he added.
Lawal stated that, while electoral tribunals were in session, there was no cause for tension or for anyone to take the law into their own hands; rather, Nigerians should have faith in the legal process.
“I don’t believe there is any reason for concern or tension.” I have faith in Nigeria’s judicial system, and we will continue to support it and guarantee that no one abuses the legal system.
“I also want to address young people directly.” Democracy is an ongoing process. Nigeria’s democracy is still developing, and we have achieved history by ensuring that our democracy has not been overthrown for almost 20 years.
“I believe we should build on our successes while working to close the gaps,” he stated.
Mr. Emmanuel Njoku, CODE’s Director of Democracy and Governance, stated that INEC should pursue additional election reforms in order to address some challenges.
Njoku stated that INEC, for example, needed to create a mechanism for personnel on electoral duty to vote, maybe through Electoral Act amendments to ensure that they were not disenfranchised.
He stated that INEC engaged over 1.5 million ad hoc personnel across Nigeria in the previous election, and that all of them, barring security forces assigned on election duty, were unable to vote on election day.
“If these people on election duty are allowed to vote, they will be better informed about how to vote, but over two million people not voting is bad for our democracy and our elections.”