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There’s still a lot to be done, CDD tells INEC

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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) says its findings show that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is prepared for the presidential and national assembly elections but there is still a lot to be done.

In response to the postponement of the polls, the Election Analysis Center (EAC) of CDD advised the commission to address issues that could affect the rescheduled polls.

The EAC, which was set up by CDD on February 14, is a “one-stop shop for analysis and countering fake news during the election”.

It laid emphasis on the compensation of ad hoc staff who were supposed to participate in last week exercise, saying failure to do this could lead to staff shortage on Saturday, as some might boycott the exercise.

Last week, there were reports of corps members sleeping in open fields in the cold and relying on their mobile phones for light.

EAC also called on the commission to ensure that all the missing or misplaced voting materials are rerouted to avoid shortfalls or any hitches.

“INEC needs to, as a matter of necessity and urgency, avoid any delays in paying allowances and ensure that working conditions are safe and comfortable for the ad-hoc staff because left unaddressed, these issues could lead to a shortage of election staff if those deployed begin to boycott their duties,” EAC said.

“The postponement of the elections last week really affected a lot of people, particularly businesses and some voters who travelled hundreds of kilometre or even more to return to their polling units to vote.

“The speculation that the election will be rigged has created two scenarios amongst the people, a feeling of despondency and that votes will not count in some people and in others in some parts of the country a strong reason to vote and defend their votes.

“Our assessment based on Prof. Yakubu’s briefings as well as verified information from thousands of our observers on the field, we believe that the Electoral Commission is ready for Saturday’s vote.

“Nonetheless, there is a great deal of work to be done, including ensuring that issues concerning every aspect of logistics as well as the movement of materials and personnel from local government areas towards are completed without any further delays.”

Citing reports from its observers as well as researchers who conducted field group discussions, the organisation said it finds reports of Boko Haram attacks in Yobe state and Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, troubling.

“It is important and necessary to review security plans for volatile states such as Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Zamfara states,” it said, but warned that while it matters to provide security during elections,” it said.

“It equally behoves the authorities responsible are careful and do not unduly deploy excessive security during polls that might frighten votes and depress voting numbers.”

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