The Centre for Democracy and Development CDD has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to recruit locals as ad-hoc electoral officials instead of non-residents of a state.
The Director of CDD, Mrs Idayat Hassan stated this in Abuja, while presenting an analysis of security threats and mitigation measures for the 2023 elections at a Security Election Seminal organized by the European Union support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria EU-SDGN.
Mrs Hassan said the usual norm of recruiting and deploying National Youth Service Corp members may portend more danger in the forthcoming elections and therefore recommended that INEC should recruit staff that uses its local offices from communities.
‘’For instance, in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger and Sokoto communities have been or are in dialogue with the armed groups. These individuals would be better placed to work out plan or agreement to enable their participation in the forthcoming election”.
“This should not supersede the need to also deploy technical staff to LGA offices who can train the election officials ahead of the vote’’ she stated.
Mrs Idayat Hassan called on INEC to establish a dashboard of key indicators on election risk management, equipped enough to include threats posed by different non-state actors that may impact the elections in different parts of the country.
She also urged INEC to create a local dialogue mechanism at the state level which includes engagements with the traditional and religious authorities who wield influence in their communities to mitigate security threats and violence.
“This should include a robust memorandum of understanding with an accountability framework with transporters that treats and breach as one that can be and is prosecuted’’.
A professor of Political Science at the University of Lagos and a former INEC Commissioner, Professor Adele Jinadu urged the commission to encourage the sharing of intelligence between it and security agencies regarding threats to electoral facilities and processes to enable necessary preventable action.
He urged the federal government to strengthen INEC’s independence through immediate release of annual election budget and provide exemption from the regular budget and procurement process from INEC to strengthen its financial independence and to avoid delays in its procurement of sensitive election.
Professor Jinadu called on political parties, to commit strongly to the Peace Accord agreed with the National Peace Committees and subsisting code of conduct for political parties, and resolve outstanding disputes arising from party primaries ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He urged CSOs, NGOs and the media to engage political parties on the need for a violence-free and issue based electioneering campaign culture.
Reporting by Daniel Adejo; Editing by Julian Osamoto & Adeniyi Bakare