By Angela Atabo
Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of Civil society Organisations (CSOs) has called on the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deliver on their mandates ahead of the elections .
Convener, Situation Room, Ene Obi, made the call while speaking on the preparedness for the general elections on Wednesday, in Abuja.
Obi said that there was need for President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that agencies of government involved with the elections deliver on their responsibilities.
She noted that the 2023 general elections would hold on Saturday to elect the President and members of the National Assembly, and on March 11, to elect 28 of 36 State governors and members of the State Houses of Assembly.
“For the first time, the BVAS will be deployed nationwide in a general election, this makes the National Communications Commission (NCC) a key stakeholder in the process.
“The Commission will be held responsible for any network issues and internet outages on election day. Security agencies are expected to deploy adequately to hotspots as identified by INEC and other stakeholders to forestall violence.
“Today, the Election Situation Room opens with the launch of the report of our Pre-Election Assessment which presents the findings of an assessment of Nigeria’s pre-election environment ahead of the 2023 general election.
“It provides a contextual analysis of the socio-economic and political factors shaping the 2023 elections, examines INEC’s preparations for the elections, and highlights the key issues and security challenges that would define the election.”
Obi said that for the 2023 general elections, Situation Room would deploy 2,410 observers with at least three observers per local government area in every state of the Federation and the number included 131 Persons With Disabilities.
She said that Situation Room’s observation of the conduct of the elections would take into cognisance the electoral environment, INEC’s preparedness, election security, activities of political parties among others .
“We are positive that citizens are ready and willing to cast their votes. Every general election in Nigeria comes with its own challenges and we rely on the assurance of INEC that it is prepared to conduct the election.
” Situation Room commends the Commission for the efforts made so far despite huge challenges, however the Commission can do more to ensure a credible poll.
“Situation Room urges INEC to do its utmost best and take final steps to strategically address the gaps and challenges highlighted.
“Situation Room specifically called on the political parties to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and to discourage violence by their supporters,” she said.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, expressed concern over a potentially adverse effect of the naira notes scarcity on logistics for the deployment of foreign election observers.
Laing however, expressed optimism that citizens would effectively participate in the elections and it would be free and credible.
Mr Clement Nwankwo, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), advised Buhari to employ the Electoral Act to punish offenders of the General Elections.
Nwankwo called for the need to ensure that Nigerians were protected during the elections .
He stressed the need for all stakeholders to play their role to enable free ,fair and credible elections, adding that so many organisations would be tested on their
“I think the judiciary in Nigeria is on trial in this election, and we will be watching out and checking everyone,” he said (NAN)