" ITREALMS: Group warns Nigerians: Beware! ides of March - ITREALMS

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Group warns Nigerians: Beware! ides of March - ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news!

A coalition of civil society organisations mandated to combat corruption, promote good governance have warned Nigerians to be ware of ides of March, reports 
Group warns Nigerians: Beware! ides of March - ITREALMS
A press statement signed by the representatives of seven CSOs in the coalition, made available to 
ITREALMSsaid they have mandate also to uphold the integrity of Africa's electoral system.

They said that working with other civil society partners and citizen volunteers, our network observed the various processes and stages of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and various political stakeholders, as well as the Saturday, February 25th, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections, hereby release a preliminary statement that will be followed by a more detailed report of our observation of the entire exercise.

According to them, "This interim statement is necessitated in particular by recent events that threaten the election's integrity and could plunge the nation into an unwelcome and unaffordable crisis.

We are concerned about reports of irregularities and violence during voting in several states. We also observe INEC's evident blunder, which resulted in lengthy delays in the start and end of voting in a number of polling units, and even the deferral of the exercise to the following day in some other units. We also take notice of reports of technical challenges with the BVAS in some polling locations, as well as other critical but resolved issues such as ballot paper stamping delays. We are worried about reports of violent assaults on INEC staff, election material, including BVAS, and some voters in a number of places as a result of security flaws. More significantly, and with grave worry, we observe INEC's inability to quickly update the iRev Portal for citizens to monitor poll results, despite the huge expectations raised by INEC in that regard.

"We are concerned, however, by the approach that politicians across the board are taking to the issues, as well as the danger that their words and actions may pose to Nigerian society and our efforts to secure our democratic path through fair election conduct. We are especially concerned about any attempt to end the ongoing process without completing it logically and in accordance with established processes and procedures, and we urge Nigerians to be vigilant and resist any attempt by politicians of all stripes to undermine or impede our hard-earned democracy.

"Considering the foregoing, we hereby make the following categorical statements:That the integrity of the electoral system is critical to the legitimacy of any government that emerges from it.
That the reported infractions in the conduct of the last Saturday elections must be thoroughly investigated, and where human error is established, such persons must be duly prosecuted.
That, despite the infractions and incidents of violence reported in a couple of places, we strongly believe the elections are not beyond redemption, and thus INEC and law enforcement authorities should do all that is possible within the law to transparently rectify these situations.
That INEC should continue to fix its technical issues and upload all results to its iRev, as pledged to Nigerians, while also ensuring the integrity of the uploaded results.
That the ongoing PRESENTATION of results from the states by Returning Officers at the National Collation Centre in Abuja should not be halted under any circumstances, but should be concluded without further delay.
That INEC should ensure results are DECLARED a winner announced once it has addressed complaints and validated all results from the various states.
That we recognize INEC's authority to overturn or recall results that fail the integrity test outlined by the applicable laws.
That we condemn any declaration of the final result or celebration of victory by any political party prior to the conclusion of INEC's processes and the official declaration of a winner.
That we condemn as rash, ill-considered, and mischievous any calls by political parties or their allies for the cancellation of this election or the termination of the ongoing process.
Rather, we exhort all aggrieved persons or groups to pursue the established peaceful and legal channels for seeking redress when an infraction is observed."

Members:Sulaimon Arigbabu - HEDA Resource Centre
Dr. Abiola Akiode- Afolabi - Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre
Dr. Zikrillahi Ibrahim- Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED)
Hazmat Lawal - Connected Development, CODE
Debo Adeniran - Centre for Anti corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL
Adeola Soetan - Citizenship Civic Awareness Centre aka Democracy Vanguard
Olanrewaju Suraju - Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC

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