Cleen Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has advised Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to ensure timely distribution of election materials in all the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Edo, ahead of the Sept. 19, Governorship Poll.
Mr Benson Olugbuo, Executive Director of the foundation, gave the advice on Friday in Abuja during public presentation of`Findings of Security Threat Assessment towards 2020 Governorship Election in Edo’.
Olugbuo said that from security threat assessment conducted within the state, late distribution of election materials and poor synergy between INEC officials and security agencies could hamper peaceful conduct of the election.
“Given the off-cycle governorship election holding on Sept. 19, we have conducted a security threat assessment and the general expectation is that the election will be peaceful.
“However, we advise INEC to ensure the early distribution of non-sensitive materials to all LGA headquarters and to make adequate preparation to deliver all other materials promptly on the Election Day for timely commencement of voting to avoid unnecessary chaos.
“Also, provide and appropriately communicate to all stakeholders in its platform for ensuring transparent counting, collation, and announcement of results,’’ he said.
Olugbuo cautioned against the use of hate speech by political players which he said most of the respondents from the assessment feared could threaten the peaceful conduct of the election.
He also said that respondents feared that inter-ethnic, religious, and communal conflict, may threaten the security and that ‘voter importation could disrupt the electoral process.
Olugbuo advised against the marginalisation or exclusion of minority groups which constitute a risk factor, especially exclusion of women, youths, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and the elderly.
He urged political parties to commit to a peace agreement to encourage their flag bearers and supporters to abide by the provisions of the electoral law, including shunning the use of thugs and provocative speeches.
He called for adequate training of party agents to enable them understand their rights and responsibilities to avoid acts that could compromise INEC officials or the electoral process.
Olugbuo advised the media to intensify awareness creation and voter education to discourage apathy, as well as maintain high level of professionalism, accuracy, and impartiality in the coverage.