The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, has highlighted the logistical and administrative difficulties, attacks on its facilities, lingering fuel and cash scarcity, rising security challenges, misinformation and fake news, manifestations of voter suppression, and the likelihood of social unrest as challenges confronting the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, with elections days away.
CAPPA, therefore, called on the Federal Government, INEC, security agencies, and the media to play effective roles towards ensuring that the forthcoming elections are free, fair, and credible.
The rights group made these points during the media presentation of a report entitled “2023 General Elections – Challenges and Threats to Consolidating Democracy”, in Lagos on Thursday.
Part of solutions to the challenges, according to the report, was for government to utilise the few days before the elections to flush out violent groups and secure all locations affected by insecurity.
Speaking, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA, said the report was informed by recent developments in the political space in the build-up to the elections.
Oluwafemi said: “Many Nigerians feel the existing challenges may impede a credible general election.
“This report, therefore, interrogates the various concerns, including logistical and administrative difficulties faced by INEC, and attacks on its facilities, the lingering fuel and cash scarcity, rising security challenges in the polity, the spread of misinformation and fake news, the manifestations of voter suppression, and likelihood of social unrest.
“INEC, the electoral umpire, should work with community watchpersons and security agencies to deploy technology, including drones, to electronically track in real time the movement of all vehicles and boats used in conveying electoral personnel and materials to prevent their hijacking and diversion.
“They should also put in place mechanisms for swift counter-measures to prevent by-passing and hacking of the BVAS and IREV platforms.
“Where necessary, it should leverage international support for this purpose.”
The security operatives were also tasked to work in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) “to identify persons of interest based on credible intelligence and ensure they are subjected to lawful surveillance during the electioneering period provided a court order authorising such is secured.
“Violence often starts with allegations of bias, hence the INEC, the police and other security agencies must maintain utmost impartiality in the course of discharging their duties.”
The CAPPA Executive Director also charged the Media and civil society organisations to work together to monitor and dispel election-related fake news.
“They should intensify sensitisation and awareness programmes aimed at empowering voters with information on peace building during elections, and the latest developments as regard electioneering processes in Nigeria to help them make informed decisions.”