Ahead of the September 19 Edo state governorship election, stakeholders comprising Civil Society groups and election observer groups have expressed concerns over threat of violence before and during the election
The stakeholders in a communique signed at the end of a workshop in Benin, said utterances by politicians have heat up the polity in the state, thereby creating fears among citizens and might lead to voter apathy.
The communique signed by Faith Nwadishi, the executive Director of Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) on behalf of the participants, however, urged electorates to be change agents and play their part by shunning vote trading.
The stakeholders’ meeting was held after courtesy/ advocacy visits by the CTA team to security agencies and the National Orientation Agency in Edo State the previous day.
The meeting concluded that political parties should sign a peace accord and make a commitment towards a peaceful election and failure to do so; relevant security agencies should prosecute those found culpable.
It also recommended that political parties must submit the names of their agents on time to enable INEC to accredit them and their identities furnished to the security agencies for easy identification
While expressing concerns that the role of the Judiciary in the electoral process has become worrisome, the stakeholders recommended further that the judiciary should take responsibility in collaboration with INEC to train their officers to help the electoral process.
It added that that there should be reforms and modification of relevant laws, in particular, the Electoral Act, while urging that citizens and stakeholders must work together and support INEC for a credible election.
The stakeholders said some noticeable challenges leading to the election include disregard for the Electoral Act and the electoral processes by political parties and actors.