12th October 2019 0

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has released its list of accredited domestic and international observers for the 2019 Governorship elections in Bayelsa state. This decision of the body formally recognizes the years of efforts that SING has made in participating in elections as a nonpartisan stakeholder in the electoral process.

It will be recalled that SING had championed the Save Southern Ijaw peaceful sit-out protests, when the 2016 supplementary governorship elections turned violent and military personnel deployed, making the political climate then, to be tensed. We led the call for the withdrawal of the military during the election, as It will also be recalled that SING had produced an election violence report, based on an intensive and extensive engagement with victims and other eyewitnesses and stakeholders, which was submitted to the state government and international organizations such as Amnesty International.

It is also on record that SING has continued to advocate that the perpetrators, indicted in that report that was adopted by the judicial panel set up by the Bayelsa state government, be brought to book and made to face justice in order to serve as deterrent for others and build confidence in the process.

Furthermore, SING Nigeria in keeping with its thematic focus on good governance and youth involvement, remains committed to working with relevant stakeholders to eradicate violence in the electoral process, which from our findings is responsible for the persistent decline in number of registered citizens who come out to vote in elections and thereby progressively robbing our elections of credibility. SING believes that elections are the bedrock of representative governance and popular participation in decision making, and hereby calls on all stakeholders to strengthen and improve institutional capacity to effectively manage elections for a sustainable society.

SING Nigeria shall be deploying a team of observers for the Bayelsa elections, which mission shall be led by its board member and frontline legal practitioner, Barr. Kayode Ajulo. Our observers will be physically present in each of the 1805 polling units, while giving effective coverage and the entire process. The organization shall also be opening a fully equipped situation room, to which field observers will be able to ling via the SING Violence reporting mobile application, to track and document incidences of violence to help advise the security agencies and government on steps to prevent future occurrence.

We call on all involved in the election to conduct themselves in a civilized manner and to avoid actions and utterances that could bring the credibility of the process into question, as this ultimately affects the legitimacy of those who emerge and the process of governance.

Signed: Itari Turner PhD
Program Director

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