By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged INEC in the state to brace up in sensitizing the electorate about the forthcoming general elections, as it cautioned INEC to be mindful of NGOs that will be accredited to monitor elections.
Chairman of the Union, Comrade Mike Ikeogwu stated this in Asaba when the Delta State Focal Person of YIAGA AFRICA, an International Non Partisan NGO, Mrs Uche Onwumah led her team of supervisors and observers on a courtesy visit to the State Executives of NUJ.
Comrade Ikeogwu said,’’ For INEC as it stand today in Delta State, I want to say that whether they are prepared for the general elections is another question that they need to answer because from the look of things, we have not heard anything about voter’s enlightenment, no substantive Resident Electoral Commissioner and Administrative Secretary.”
” Some polling wards have been said to have been relocated, nobody is aware. The electorate are worried over some of these problems. I call on INEC to stand up and let the electorate know what they are doing. INEC should enlighten the electorate on what is expected of them. They should be carried along.”
The NUJ Delta Council Chairman stated further, ‘’ For election to be credible in the country, both INEC and other critical stakeholders must perform their roles well. If the election is not transparent, we must all report that it is not transparent; if it is credible and transparent, it must be reported. That is the only way our democracy could be said that it has come to stay. But from what we are seeing on ground particularly on this side of INEC in Delta State, I want to say that much is left to be desired.”
Comrade Ikeogwu said NUJ Delta Council as a critical stakeholder in the forthcoming elections was prepared more than ever to cover the exercise without any bias.‘’We have distributed the code of election coverage to all our members to read so that they can understand their roles, the opportunities available to them, their limits, and what is expected of them in election coverage ‘’, Ikeogwu pointed out.
He commended YIAGA AFRICA for seeking collaboration with NUJ,Delta, saying the Union is ever ready to partner credible organizations to ensure free and fair general elections.
“But going by what we have observed in previous elections,from observers; I must say that so many NGOs monitoring or observing elections should not be given the opportunity to do so because of credibility question. But for YIAGA AFRICA, I know that the organization is credible and should be identified with by critical stakeholders in electioneering process in Nigeria.”
Earlier, the State Focal Person, YIAGA AFRICA, Uche Onwumah said the organization as an independent,non partisan NGO has primary duty to observe the process of elections and make remarks.
‘’We let the people know that election is forthcoming.It is a very serious issue, and we as citizens of Nigeria have a role to play. In YIAGA AFRICA, we use what we call PVT —Parallel Vote Tabulation methodology which uses ICT in picking randomly our polling units to observe elections.( An election observationmethodology that is typically based on a representative random sample of polling stations and is employed for independent verification (or challenge) of election results).”
“This year, for the Presidential election, YIAGA AFRICA will be observing the election in 3,034 assigned polling units all over the country. This was done randomly with the help of the National Demographic Institute, NDI. It is to enable us have a feel of what happens within the 774 LGAs of Nigeria. We are using the federal strata to observe the election to get our findings. ……Even INEC rely on our reports because they know that we report what we see’’, She asserted.The State Focal Person, YIAGA AFRICA said they had resolved to identify with, and collaborate with NUJ Delta Council to ensure credible, transparent, free and fair general election