Making the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria Credible.

Making the coming general elections in Nigeria free, fair and credible, must mean just a promise from stakeholders both and out of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) of Nigeria. Opposition parties as well as civil society organizations are already raising a numbrr of concerns about the way and manner the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the electoral umpire intends to go about the conduct of the elections. Below a give a snaptshot of some of the main points to address immediately.

If the 2019 General Elections must be credible and seen as such:

1. INEC needs to come clean and make public the number of PVCs collected across polling units, LGAs and States. This is critical to the integrity of the elections. It is not enough to know the number of registered voters across the country. There’s a known perennial issue with voter apathy in the collection of PVCs. The absence of this information will create large leverage for rigging particularly in areas with a large size of uncollected PVCs.

2. INEC needs to come clean and make public the number and locations of the so-called Voting Point Settlements. This is alien to us at the moment, even though we understand the authority of the INEC in establishing regulations that guide the elections. If not done, these Voting Point Settlements can conveniently become rigging centers, regardless of the location and party involved.

3. INEC needs to come clean and clarify grey areas in the Electoral Guidelines as regards the efficacy of the Card Reader devices concerning whether persons with PVCs, acquired (or stolen) through fraudulent means, can be allowed to vote regardless of their voting unit of issuance and the presence (or otherwise) of their names in the Voters Register. This is important considering news of a wave of purchase of PVCs across the country.

4. INEC needs to come clean and clarify the issue of the planned simultaneous Accreditation and Voting in the 2019 Elections. This is a recipe for manipulation. What this means is that if any irregularities take place in the Accreditation and Voting process, and a party over-powers the others, any result can be announced with no one having any information about the total number of persons who were accredited for the elections since that information was never known by anyone before the distraction happened.

5. INEC needs to come clean and make public its response to the myriad of issues that opposition political parties have raised in the past few days since the Interim Electoral Guidelines were made public. An open dialogue needs to happen in the coming days to address these issue.

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