The Centre for Transparency Advocacy, (CTA), has held the north-east stakeholders meeting in Gombe state, preparatory to the 2023 general elections.
The meeting was made up of stakeholders from the security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), religious and Civil Society Organisations and CTA representatives from the six north-eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.
Participants deliberated on the various challenges facing the area, in which the Executive Director of CTA, Mrs. Faith Nwadishi, said the meeting would give opportunity for interactions, examinations and conversations on genuine issues of concern in relation to the 2023 General Election.
“A key outcome expected from this meeting is the commitment from stakeholders to ensure a peaceful, credible, free, fair, inclusive and conclusive elections come February and March,” said Mrs. Nwadishi.
Various issues were considered and given recommendations such as sentiment based campaigns by religious leaders, vote buying/selling, security, logistics, the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System device, (BVAS), INEC/security agencies preparedness, among others.
Mrs. Nwadishi said these issues should be dealt with for the protection of lives during elections and for the smooth and credible conduct of the elections.
The stakeholders agreed that candidates of political parties must campaign based on issues and not heat up the polity by creating fears in the hearts of people who would want to vote in the February and March elections.
Mrs. Nwadishi urged security agencies to work in synergy to ensure the adequate protection of masses within the election periods, while urging voters to shun buying and selling of votes because it undermines election.
She also called on the stakeholders to listen to all voices, especially those of vulnerable groups like women, youth and people living with disabilities during the election period.
She also urged security agencies and the INEC to serve the interest of the people while building on their recent successes in the last off-season elections in Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections, by the deployment of improved technology such as the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System, B-VAS.
“The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), an election observation group having observed elections in the country and all the off-season elections leading to the 2023 general elections will be observing this election by deploying 2000 (made up of at least 2 observers per 774 LGA) observers across the country. These observers will be trained on Election Observation, Electoral Act 2022 and adherence to INEC Election Guidelines,” said Mrs. Nwadishi.
She announced that the CTA would be coordinating election observation in their various states, as well as the setting up of an Election Day Situation Room in Abuja, which would receive reports in real time from the field observers.
She appealed that all information should be verified before sharing and that the neutrality of the mainstream media should be maintained so as to douse the negative effects of misinformation.