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Okigwe Bye-election: Scrutinise every result sheet – group



Cost of elections operations, logistics, enormous — INEC

A group, Committee of Youth on Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS), has called on INEC to thoroughly scrutinise result sheets during the forthcoming bye-election in Okigwe North in Imo scheduled for Dec. 5.

It said that such scrutiny would help to quide against malpractices and litigations.

It’s Director General, Comrade Obinna Nwaka, made the suggestion in a communique at the end of meeting titled “Pre-election Assesment of Imo North Senatorial Bye-election” issued to journalists in Owerri on Thursday.

He suggested the scrutiny must be particularly thorough on result sheets from Ehime Mbano, Isiala-Mbano, Onuimo and Okigwe local government areas.

Nwaka described the group as “an evaluation, mobilisation and monitoring body with national and ward level structures” committed to strengthening Nigeria’s democratic values and good governance.

He said the organisation was accredited by INEC to observe the forthcoming bye- election in Imo North Senatorial District comprising six local government areas.

Nwaka said the group had carried out pre-election previews with the electorate, political parties and security officers to ascertain their level of preparedness for the election.

He said said that his group would work to ensure that INEC would discharge its duties as expected by the electorate.

Nwaka, also the Head of Election Mission of CYMS, said there were low participation in the past elections in the area due to poor mobilisation of supporters as a result of “internal crisis, grieve and disunity”.

“The group has created a lot of awareness; the consciousness of the electorate in Okigwe Zone has been weakened over poor representation, rigging, imposition of representatives and under development.

“We observe that 90 per cent of the participating political parties have internal crisis ranging from failure to return or consider their initial candidate during the 2019 general elections except few parties,” he said.

Nwaka urged INEC to ensure that its personnel, especially the operators of the card readers, would be on ground and accessible in case of malfunction of the machines.

The group also urged the state government to support INEC and the security agencies to ensure free, fair and credible bye-election that Nigerians would be proud of.

It advised that party agents, who would serve as returning officers, should be certified and thoroughly screened before gaining entrance into the collation centres.

Nwaka also advised that maximum protection should be given to party agents whenever they perceive issues of irregularities.

“INEC should not be in haste or under pressure to announce or conclude the election.

“They should thoroughly scrutinise every result sheet, especially from the Ehime Mbano, Isiala Mbano, Onuimo and Okigwe LGAs to avoid litigations.

“Political parties should ensure a wide spread presence of their party agents in the polling units for effective party representation and record keeping during election,” he said.

Nwaka commended INEC for the relocation of the collating center for the election to Owerri, the Imo capital, saying it would enhance transparency, credibility and security of the process.

He also commnded the various security agencies in the state for the assurance and preparedness to support the commission to ensure the election is smooth, free and fair and assured them of the group’s support as local observers.

Earlier, Comrade Kekechi Ugwumba, Director, Contract and Mobilisation officer of CYMS, said the aim of the organisation was to monitor activities of political parties during the elections.

He said the meeting was a pre-election programme to sensitive the general public on the forthcoming bye-election.