Convener of Nigeria’s Civil Society Situation Room, Yunusa Zakari Ya’u, soke on the organisation’s role to play on the upcoming off cycle elections.
With just a day to the off-season elections to be held in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo State, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have put up mechanisms to detect and expose electoral fraud. The organization has stated that they are standing on INEC promise to put up results on the IREV and enlightening citizens on how to access to the viewing portal.
In an ARISE NEWS interview on Friday, Mr. Yunusa Ya’u stated that the CSO has already began the process of deploying conveners to monitor elections and distribution of electoral materials as well as coordinating teams in situation rooms in the states.
He mentioned that the organization will be working Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) NGO and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) to work with technologies to monitor election processes. He also called for the citizens to stay vigilant on aiding the organization in it’s duties.
According to him, “We have observers in all Local Governments. of course we pay special attention to where we think incidents of violence are likely to happen. And we have gone there in the pre-election situation analysis to understand the situation. In particular we know that Imo and Kogi state have disposition to violence. So we’ve seen that on the previous elections four years ago especially in Kogi where people were killed.”
Mr Yunusa made known that the safety of observers and electoral officials remain paramount to the organization just as much as that of the citizens.
“We are working with security organizations, particularly the police and other loyal enforcement agencies to to ensure that when we pick signals of any likelihood of incidents, we will alert relevant agencies. And we expect that they would work so the situation will no generate into violent engagements.”
While clarifying that the Civil Society has no hand in inciting violence, he also stated politicians and security agencies are largely responsible for violence that takes place during election periods.
“Historically politicians and government have long been the instigators of the violence in the country. The role of the law enforcement agencies who are supposed to ensure that violence does not take place has often been absent.
“The truth of the matter is that something the agencies themselves incite violence in the field. The military is not supposed to be visibly involved in the electoral process. They should be in the background. When when you have the military so visible involved, it had the ambience to frighten citizens. That will disenfranchise them.”
The concerning certain possible obstructions during the process, i.e. the recent strike in Imo State, due to the attack on the Nigerian Labor Congress President, Joe Ajaero, Mr. Yunusa stated that though the Civil Society is satisfied with the removal of the state Police Commissioner and the apology from the governor who denied the government’s hand in the attack, he also stated that he hopes efforts to fish out and prosecute those responsible will also take place.
He ensured that the strike will not affect the deployment of the organisation’s officers as they had been deployed ahead of the strike to monitor that materials were in place.