Ahead of November 16th ,2019 governorship election in Kogi State,the Executive Director, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution(CHRCR) Comrade Idris Miliki Abdul has advocated for stiff penalty for electoral offenders.
This was contained in press statement signed by Idris Miliki Abdul and copy of which was made available to newsmen in Lokoja, said that November governorship election must be transparent free and fair.
He explained that elections are very complex set of activities with different variables that act and feed on one another, adding that it can be describe as an act of collective decision that occurs in a stream of connected antecedent and subsequent behaviour.
“It involves the participation of the people in the act of electing their leaders and their own participation in governance. Elections are not necessarily about Election Day activities although it forums an importance component. It encompasses activities before during and after elections. It includes the legal and constitutional framework of elections, party campaigns the activities of the electronic and print media in terms of access, it also includes campaign financing the activities of the security agencies and the government in power. It includes the independence or lack of it of electoral agencies and organs. It includes the liberalism or otherwise of the political process in the country and the independence of adjudicating bodies of elections.” he stated.
Rights activist noted that the1999 constitution and the 2010 electoral Act as amended, all acknowledge the possibility of electoral malpractices and irregularities. Adding that this essentially explains the setting up of election petition tribunals to adjudicate on issues arising from elections.
“Elections may therefore be questioned on grounds that a person whose election is question not qualified to contest the election, or that the election is invalid by reason of corrupt practice or non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral Act or that are not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election, or that are unlawfully excluded from the elections. So there are constitutional and legal avenues for seeking redress in cases of electoral problems and disputes. We encouraged and continues to ask aggrieve persons and parties to approach courts and Tribunals as the case maybe, for the ventilation of their grievances instead
of engage in violence”, he added.
He however identified some steps to be taken in order to have violence free, credible and fair INECs mapping to identify flash point and trigger zones through a template that can be review periodically
There must multi-stakeholders approach, Security Agencies Agenda, Civil Society Activities, Political Parties Engagement and INEC should make sure credible primaries are conducted by political parties.
INEC should provide adequate materials and logistics of time. Intensive Media engagement, particularly Radio and Television. And the media in and out of Kogi State should not engage in speculative reportage.
Stakeholders’ engagement at Senatorial Level, and intensive voters’ education at each local government level with strategic communication messages with Road shows.
Anybody that perpetrate electoral violence and malpractice should be arrested and sanction.
The struggle to make the November Governorship Election problem free must begin now.
“To set the stage, Civic Society Organizations must organize activities especially voters and civil education across the state in Kogi, particularly at local government and senatorial level. This is important if we must recapture the imagination of the people and their faith in the democratic process, with a view to conducting acceptable election in November 20CHRCRee posited.