With less than 100 days to the 2023 general elections, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called for actions against noticed infractions in the preliminary display of voter register and inciting statements by presidential campaign spokesman.
The CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, made the call on Saturday in a statement.
She noted that while preparations appeared to be in line with the pre-determined electoral timetable, there are concerns about the manner in which campaigns are being carried out nationwide.
According to her, there have been repeated incidents of violence, especially against facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and irresponsible rhetoric by candidates.
“We note that the recent attacks in Ogun and Osun states have prompted security agencies to develop clear plans of action to mitigate against subsequent incidents, but are concerned that these incidents can be damaging to popular confidence in the democratic process.
“Technological advancements in the electoral process, such as the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) have been well received in the recently conducted Ekiti and Osun states off-cycle elections.
“But we note the concerns about voter duplication and underage voters appearing on the voter register that undermine its credibility,” Hassan said.
She said that where substantiated, these should be grounds for strict sanctions of the erring individuals and the officials responsible for registering and accrediting such individuals.
She also commended the increased engagement that different stakeholders and groups had embarked on to ensure that the elections are well conducted.
She said, “From international observers and missions, to domestic judiciary and civil society sectors, we are encouraged by the desire of these groups to be better prepared and informed before the election period.”
She urged all actors to take advantage of the period leading up to the election to support sensitization efforts and to work on ways that the process can be managed in a sensitive and responsible manner.
“However, we are aware of ongoing reports emphasizing the importance of electing leaders along ethnic and religious lines.
“Statements attributed to spokespersons of candidates, and their parties, should be focused on the important issues that affect the country and how to ensure that these are effectively addressed.
“Resorting to identity politics will only serve to inflame an already sensitive political environment and risk, potentially violent, clashes,” she added.
The CDD boss also reminded all stakeholders of the need to seek clarity and confirmation around news items as they are shared during the election cycle.
She said that fact-checking during the recent presidential townhalls and debates had revealed the necessity of ensuring that candidates are held to account.
“This does not aim to denigrate their campaigns, after all no human is immune from erring. But it is important that we do so to ensure that political campaigns are driven by facts.
“This will help citizens make informed decisions concerning their leaders for the next four years.
“While CDD remains cautiously optimistic that ongoing engagement with the process by all key stakeholders will result in a well-conducted election next year,” Hassan said.