Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of civil society organisations, has called on the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria to deliver on their mandates ahead of the February 25 and March 11 elections.
The Situation Room convener Ene Obi made the call while speaking on the preparedness for the general elections on Wednesday in Abuja. She said there was a need for President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that government agencies involved with the elections perform their roles effectively.
“For the first time, the BVAS will be deployed nationwide in a general election. This makes the Nigeria Communications Commission a key stakeholder in the process. “The commission will be held responsible for any network issues and internet outages on election day,” Ms Obi explained. “Security agencies are expected to deploy adequately to hotspots identified by INEC and other stakeholders to forestall violence.”
According to her, the Situation Room would deploy 2,410 observers with at least three observers per local government area in every state, and the number included 131 people with disabilities.
She said the Situation Room’s observation of the conduct of the elections would take into cognisance the electoral environment, INEC’s preparedness, election security, and activities of political parties, among others.
“Situation Room commends the commission for the efforts made so far despite huge challenges. However, the commission can do more to ensure a credible poll. The Situation Room urges INEC to do its utmost best and take final steps to strategically address the gaps and challenges highlighted,” Ms Obi pointed out.
She added, “Situation Room specifically called on the political parties to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and to discourage violence by their supporters.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, expressed concern over a potentially adverse effect of the naira scarcity on logistics for deploying foreign election observers.
However, Ms Laing expressed optimism that Nigerians would effectively participate in the elections and be free and credible.