The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) has pleaded with political actors to remember their commitment to the Peace Accord signed ahead of Sept.19 governorship election in Edo.
Ms Esther Uzoma, Alternate Chair, Situation Room, made the call on behalf of the group in a preliminary statement issued in Abuja ahead of the election.
According to Uzoma, the 14 candidates sign the accord to guarantee a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the elections.
“This election will take place against a very tense political environment characterised by hate speech and rhetoric.
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” Already, reports have been received of pre-election violence in some parts of the state, prominently in Akoko-Edo local government.
” Situation Room is concerned that the conduct of the political actors in the lead up to this election has raised fears of their readiness to eschew violence.
“Situation Room wishes to remind the political actors of their commitment to the Peace Accord signed by the 14 candidates to guarantee a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the elections.
“There is a moral and legal obligation to abide by this agreement and there will be consequences in this regard,” she said.
Uzoma said that the groups called on the parties to ensure their agents abide by “INEC COVID-19 guidelines as they participate in the electoral process”.
She said that the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has deployed 300 observers for the Edo state governorship election and would be on the ground to receive reports from its partners and networks distributed across the 18 local government areas of the state.
She said that the received assurance from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police that they were fully prepared for the elections.
“Situation Room expects an improved administration and management of the 2020 Edo governorship election and will be holding INEC accountable to its promise.
She said that the group would be looking forward to early distribution and deployment of personnel and timely opening of the poll.
Uzoma said that they would also look out for adherence to COVID-19 protocols on election day and INEC’s guidelines for conducting elections during the pandemic, among others.
She said Situation Room would be keeping a close eye on the collation process of this election with its observers deployed to all of the collation centres of the election.
She said that the group commended the Inter-Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on the development of a “Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Election Duty.
“In view of this document, Situation Room calls on all deployed security agencies and their personnel to abide by these guidelines and remain neutral in their conduct.
“Situation Room has observed some level of hostility and unprofessional conduct of some policemen towards accredited media agents and observers during the distribution of election materials at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office in Benin.
“Situation Room calls on the leadership of the Nigeria Police to call their men to enjoin them to be neutral and professional in their conduct.”
Uzoma said that the group urged all eligible voters to come out freely to exercise their civic responsibility on Sept.19.
She said that the Situation Room would encourage voters to abide by the health protocols issued by INEC and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for their personal safety and safety of persons around them.