Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has called on voters in both Kogi and Bayelsa states to come out en masse and vote for the candidates of their choice in the ongoing governorship election.
In separate statements issued in Lokoja and Yenagoa, the CTA expressed concerns about the political atmosphere in both states.
It, however, tasked political parties and security agencies to work together to ensure an atmosphere conducive enough for citizens to come out without fear to freely vote.
In the statement signed in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital by CTA executive director, Faith Nwadishi, the group said in line with its tradition and commitment to quality and professional observation, it has trained and deployed 50 observers across the 21 LGAs of the state to provide credible on-the-spot reports on election day.
She said the CTA is concerned that politicians must desist from vote-buying, adding that voters should not sell their votes as that will amount to mortgaging their future and the future of the younger and unborn generations.
She said, “there is a need in the deployment of security personnel for special attention to be paid to areas where there have been threats of violence. Pockets of violence have been observed in Kogi East Senatorial district.
We call on security agencies to pay close attention to that area.” She also said there is “the need to arrest and diligently prosecute individuals involved in election violence to serve as deterrence and a signal of INEC’s commitment to fight impunity.
In particular, the thugs reportedly mobilized from around Kogi West Senatorial District and arrested with guns, should be prosecuted.
Their sponsors should be identified and also prosecuted. This will go a long way in curbing the desperation of the political class in our electoral process “We call on security agents to act in accordance with the Electoral Act.
They must exhibit neutrality and professionalism. They should be polite and approachable to the electorate. They should be firm, while not going outside the law in enforcing the electoral law, including arresting people engaging in unwholesome practices such as vote trading.
Meanwhile, the centre in another statement by its Observers Team Lead in Bayelsa, MacDonald Ekemezie, said that there has been clear display of intolerance and allegations and counter-allegations of political parties arming thugs.
He stated that the CTA is gravely concerned about increasing spate of violence during campaign rallies resulting in the killing of at least 2 policemen and 1 journalist.
He said, “an election cannot produce a credible outcome in an atmosphere of insecurity and violence.
CTA urges politicians and political parties to abide by the Peace Accord they signed and ensure that they eschew desperation and play by the rules.
If elections are about serving the people, then those who want to offer themselves for service should not display desperation or resort to violence to capture power.”