2023 Election: Election is not a church service – CSO.

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Election is Not a Church Service – CSO.

A Civil Society Organization, Partners for Electoral Reforms said election is not a church service but a competitive enterprise and it takes painstaking participation to understand election process, as it faulted a recent call by a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Olisha Agbokoba (SAN) calling for the sack of Prof Yakubu Mahmoud, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Dr Olisa Agbakoba SAN

Recently, Olisha Agbakoba (SAN) had asked President Bola Tinubu to sack the INEC boss, hinging his call over claims of poor logistics arrangements by the electoral body during the recently concluded 2023 elections.

The convener of the CSO, Ezenwa Nwagwu while addressing journalists on Thursday in Abuja faulted Agbakoba’s call, saying that anybody who followed the 2023 election would have been able to know the context in which that election was held.

He said, “The issue of the unnecessary colouring of the naira, which brought about shortage of cash both for citizens and for institutions, and an organisation like INEC that its activities actually depend on vendor relationship.

“That catastrophic policy of the central bank was a setback for logistics for the election. We also know the issue of fuel scarcity during that period. The circumstance around that election was held around the period of fuel scarcity and the rest of them.”

Ezenwa said while it is true that the election experienced some challenges, the positives far outweighed the negative outcomes.

Prof Mamood Yakubu (INEC Chiarman).

 

Ezenwa continued  that being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria does not confer knowledge of electoral issues, adding that “You have to have a painstaking participant engagement with the process to be able to understand it.”

He said under the kind of climate which the election held, “somebody who is a participant observer in election issues should not make the kind of call that Chief Olisha Agbokaba made, and even more importantly, he also said he made a shocking discovery. A shocking discovery that our election is manual and I asked him ‘Where have you been?’ if as a senior advocate of Nigeria you don’t know that election in Nigeria is manual, then it means that you have no right to make a call on issues that are not very substantive. And Senior Advocate of Nigeria does not confer knowledge of electoral issues.”

He noted that over the years the issue of logistic challenge is something INEC has not been able to cure because Nigeria is a large country. He, however, explained that with the naira policy, And we’re also now battling with issues of insecurity, banditry in some parts of the country.
Ezenwa said while INEC seems to be taking all the heat, the political class are being excused for their roles in electoral violence and voters’ apathy experienced during the election

“I’m not saying that there were no issues. An election is not a church service. Election is a competitive enterprise. We give comfort to the real people who cause challenges in the election. INEC does not cause voter suppression. Politicians do this in collaboration with disgruntled INEC officials, right?

INEC does not unleash violence, politicians unleash violence. Now 90% of the time in discussing 2023 election, you focus on INEC, you leave the role of security agents. You leave the role of the political parties and their candidates and the role they play in making bad elections.

“INEC will bring its ballot box to the most remote part of this country that will be ballot box there. INEC d officials were killed in 2023, they are Nigerians. INEC were kidnapped. By whom? Who kidnapped them? Who murdered them? We provide comfort for the political class and their inability to embrace reforms and conduct themselves in a manner that allows for free and fair election.”

Ezenwa Nwagwu is known to be a voice in Nigeria electoral process and discuss.

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