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Human Rights Group Laments Decline in Quality of Elections in Nigeria Since 2015

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Olawale Ibrahim , Lokoja

A group, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution  CHRCR has lamented  that there has been progressive decline in the quality of elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since 2015

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the quarterly meeting of CSOs and Media on Corruption , Transparency and Accountability by Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict resolution (CHRCR) in partnership with The Shehu Musa Yar’dua Foundation with the support of McArthur Foundation held on Tuesday in Lokoja ,the State capital .

The group frowned at the systematic diminishing of election processes in the country, stressing that something urgent needed to be done to safe the nascent democracy.

The communique also pointed out that availability and accessibility of Budget Documents by the State Government is commendable particularly through the Government website

“That there has been progressive decline in the quality of elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since 2015

“That the role of the Media and Civil Society in shaping the discussion/conversation of the citizens in governance, has not been as effective as desired

“That despite the improved Voters Education conducted by the Electoral Umpire and Non-governmental organizations, the 2019 November 16th Governorship elections witnessed the highest incidences of violence

“That citizen engagement in the governance process has not been as desired despite efforts by several organizations to provide a platform for such engagements

The group also noted that it has become worrisome, that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has classified Kogi State as one of the most corrupt

“That the recent rumour that elections to Local Government Councils without the constitution and composition of the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), which is constitutionally responsible for conducting Local Government elections, is against the provision of the 1999 Constitution as Amended particularly section 7(1)
• That the 2020 budget does not reflect the developmental aspiration of the people of the state

The N1.8B meant for the construction of the Ganaja Junction Overhead bridge that was vired, was not contained or accounted for in the 2020 Approved Budget

That the present State House of Assembly has not lived up to its responsibility to hold the Executive in Check through Legislative oversight functions
• That there were several frivolous and unjustifiable budget line items in the 2020 approved budget

That politicians and political parties have been responsible for majority of challenges in our electoral process

That it is sad, condemnable and worrisome that 27 years after the creation of Kogi State, it was the only state without a State owned Television
RESOLUTION
After deliberations, discussions the following agreements were reached

That the government should continue with the provision of budget documents to its citizens as contained in their websites

That there was need for the Media practitioners to desist from speculative reporting and engage in investigative journalism to hold government accountable

That the government must immediately constitute the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), as it is the statutory agency responsible for the announcement of elections timetable as contained in the various electoral laws
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• That the State Government should immediately investigate the issues raised by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)BS in terms of corruption and under development in Kogi state and not to play politics with such issues

That there was need for CSO and Media to engage public documents presented by the State Government for Transparency and Accountability

That there urgent need for Kogi State to establish its Television Station to promote the culture of the people, disseminate information and entertain the citizenry
• There is need to improve political party internal process through strengthening of the oversight functions of INEC which is statutorily responsible for monitoring Political party activities, as they are the primary beneficiaries of elections in Nigeria.

 

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