By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
Less than 30 days to the commencement of the general elections in Nigeria, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council, has frowned at the absence of a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta State, warning that the people of the state would not accept any ad-hoc situation that will truncate credible elections.
The Chairman of the NUJ, Delta State Council, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, sounded the warning when the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Delta State Chapter, led by the State Coordinator, Mr Raymond Omorodion, paid the council a courtesy visit today in Asaba.
Comrade Ikeogwu noted that it was very unfortunate for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be treating the issue of no REC in the state and a substantive Administrative Secretary with the seriousness they deserve and called for an immediate deployment of the officers to the state.
He bemoaned the lack of visible activities in the INEC office in the state few weeks to the presidential and national assembly elections, saying some of the pre-election activities such as voter education, distribution of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs), and relocation of unit/ward venues without adequate awareness creation as capable of causing low participation of eligible voters in the electoral process.
“We understand training is going on in others states and at the national level of INEC for critical stakeholders but no one has said anything here in Delta State” Comrade Ikeogwu noted, adding, “We are aware about 400,000 PVCs have not been collected and INEC is not bothered and reports reaching us indicate that people who made effort to collect their PVCs could not do so because the INEC ad-hoc staff are nowhere to be found.”
The chairman reiterated the need for INEC in the state to put in place without delay the necessary arrangements to foster free, fair and transparent processes to bring about credible and acceptable elections in Delta State.
Meanwhile, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Delta State Councilhas assured the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) of a cordial working relationship to entrench credible elections in Nigeria.
Comrade Ikeogwu reckoned that the times called for genuine efforts to make Nigeria get it right in its electioneering process, noting that the TMG was a reliable organization that had over the years helped in ensuring the enthronement of credible elections.
While pledging to mobilize the media in giving expression to the activities of the TMG, particularly in this election period, the comrade chairman called for the propagation of ideological-based party manifestoes among the different political parties, lamenting that one could hardly differentiate among the numerous political parties.
Earlier, the Coordinator of the TMG, Delta State Chapter, Mr Raymond Omorodion, who spoke through his deputy, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, harped on collaboration with the NUJ and the need to institute credible elections to guarantee people-oriented governance.
He stated that his organization had concluded arrangement to enter into a charter with all political parties and their candidates in the state with a view to binding them with the wishes of the people in project execution, noting that although such charter had no legal implication but would be a moral burden on the political parties and their candidates.
According to him, the TMG would be restricting the charter to the governorship race for 2019 and would use what the parties and their candidates say to monitor and gauge their performance index, adding that there was need for paradigm shift this time around.