ReclaimNaija warns security agencies against partisanship

Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra State, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji (left) and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu watch as prospective voters collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at Anaocha Local Government office, Anambra State on Tuesday.

A coalition of organisations working on governance issues, ReclaimNaija, has called on the police and other security agencies to avoid partisanship in Saturday’s Anambra governorship election.

“It is important that security agencies provide a safe and secure atmosphere for voters to freely exercise their rights, and for INEC personnel and election observers to carry out their duties without hindrance,” said coordinator Chuks Ojidoh.

He regretted that just a few days to the election, “there are increasing reports and fears about the role of security agencies in the exercise”.

Ojidoh, also deputy director and head, governance unit, Community Life Project (CLP) said: “The success of the Anambra election rests on peaceful conduct. All agencies have to ensure that their respective roles are carried out without fear or favour.”

He said: “It is worth noting that the people of Anambra State have so far conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner, and that the campaigns have been violence free, culminating in a debate by the candidates that has largely given hope of a peaceful election.”

Given the distrust between citizens and security agencies, the coalition said: “It is imperative that the Nigerian Police, the Department of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies conduct themselves in a professional and non-partisan manner. There should be no room for citizens to doubt their sincerity.”

Ojidoh noted that the election also provided “a unique opportunity for the agencies to start the process of rebuilding trust in the South-East region.”

He said: “We therefore call on the Inspector General of Police, Director of the DSS and heads of other military and security agencies to ensure that officers deployed do not interfere with the electoral process or try to influence the outcome of the election.

“As a nation, this election will serve as a litmus test on how far we have come post-2015 elections, and how prepared we are to conduct the 2019 elections in line with international best practices and democratic standards.”

The statement called on Anambra people “to remain vigilant and peaceful in their conduct, come out en masse on Saturday to exercise their civic rights, and choose the candidate of their choice.”



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