Osinbajo, INEC chairman meet in Aso Rock

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

• Group cautions stakeholders on credible poll
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday held a meeting with chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The thrust of the meeting was not known. Sources however said the discussions might not be unconnected with Saturday’s Anambra State governorship poll and the commission’s preparation for the general election in 2019.

At the end of the meeting, the INEC boss turned down request for interview by State House correspondents who sought updates on the governorship election.

Meanwhile, a group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), has urged stakeholders in the Anambra election to ensure the exercise is free and fair.

It called on INEC, security agencies, civil society organisations and the electorate to work effectively and defy all odds.

YIAGA explained that the advise was based on reports received from its Long Term Observers (LTO) deployed in each of the state’s 21 local government areas and from where they gathered systematic information about the pre-election environment, including early warning signs on violence.

Project Director, Cynthia Mbamalu, told journalists in Awka yesterday that renewed threats by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) posed the greatest risk to successful conduct of the election.

“The latest in the series of IPOB threats coded, ‘vote and die’, in open parade on some major streets of Onitsha with boldness and no restriction or observation by security agents is very worrisome.

“Even after the proscription of IPOB, barely few days to the election, the group remains a real source of security challenge that must not be trivialised. Assurances by security agencies only represent necessary first steps. Strategies must be put in place for the effectiveness and efficiency of their deployments.”

She added: “There still exists alleged abuse of regulation on campaign finance, contradictory roles of godfathers and continuous marginalisation of disadvantaged groups including women and People With Disabilities (PWDs).”

Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, a member of the YIAGA board, said the reports focused on vital pre-election issues, including voter registration, voter education/mobilisation, party primaries, electioneering campaigns and electoral security, as well as interventions aimed at facilitating the participation of disadvantaged groups such as women, youth and PWDs.

She said: “INEC should continue to act with utmost professionalism and impartiality, which calls for strict compliance with the regular framework of the election in all circumstances. They should engage in timely and effective deployment of staff, materials and other resources needed for the election. INEC should provide adequate welfare needs for security agents and ad hoc staff, to avoid past experiences where such neglect had always been a major source of electoral lapses.

“The electorate must strive hard to play their part in deciding who governs them through voting. They should have collected their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).



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