A coalition of 10 civil society organisations (CSOs) has identified 22 high risk states that must be properly monitored as part of measures to ensure the success of the February and March general elections in Nigeria.
They made the call on Friday in Abuja at the formal presentation of the 26-page ‘Election Manipulation Risk Index (EMRI) 1’.
The CSOs are Yiaga Africa, Center for Journalism Innovation and Development, SBM Intelligence, Dataphye, International Press Centre, Institute for Media and Society, Partners for Electoral Reform, The Albino Foundation, The Kukah Centre and Enough is Enough Nigeria.
They urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy trusted, incorruptible and experienced administrative secretaries to the identified high risk and election irregularities prone states.
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“Election manipulation risks are high in 22 states of the federation. The states are classified as high-risk due to the presence of more than three EMRI variables. The states include Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Bauchi, Adamawa, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Jigawa.
“EMRI reveals 12 states with medium election manipulation risks. The states include Borno, Yobe, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Zamfara, Kebbi, Ogun, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Cross River.
“Three states are classified as low risk. They include Gombe, Ondo and the Federal Capital Territory,” the report said.
Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo and other leaders of the coalition noted the imperative of INEC deploying experienced heads of ICT and Operations to such high risk states against the backdrop of its finding in its first EMRI iteration report.
They said that the EMRI focused on six variables for tracking election manipulation. The variables are: INEC Capture, manipulation of the voter register and voter suppression; resistance to the election technology, especially BVAS and IReV, history of election manipulation and election litigation.
They, among others, recommended that voters register must be cleaned up to remove multiple registrants, fictitious names and under-aged registrants.
They added that enhanced monitoring and oversight of INEC officials managing the PVCs collection process should be carried out to prevent manipulation and deliberate denial from issuing PVCs.
They also urged the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to take disciplinary actions against legal practitioners engaged in election manipulation using the judicial process.
“There must be intense scrutiny of applications for ad-hoc personnel recruitment. Applicants should undergo competency tests, and names of successful applicants should be published for public scrutiny. INEC should create a system for submitting objections against partisan and compromised ad-hoc officials,” they said.