By Stephen Adeleye.
Poised on the need to have credible and transparent electoral coverage at the upcoming 2023 general election, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), has organised training for Local Government observers in Kogi state.
In her remarks, the Kogi State Coordinator of TMG, Mrs. Rachel Remilekun Akande, noted that the training titled, “Supporting Citizens Engagement Towards the 2023 General Election” was targeted at complementing government, security agencies and INEC efforts in ensuring credible, free, and fair elections.
According to her, TMG is an independent Civil Society Organization (CSOs), that has availed itself to observing and monitoring the Nigeria election since 1999 and with all readiness to do the same with the 2023 general election.
She said that the observers’ training would help them in understanding and familiarising themselves with observers’ templates for reporting and how to react to certain issues that might arise.
Akande stressed that the facilitators for the training were critical stakeholders who would be piloting the affairs of the election and ensuring that political actors, electorate, observers, and all other participants do the right thing.
She urged all observers to be non-partisan, observe and report everything they see on the day of the election, with strict adherence to the template given to them.
In his paper presentation, titled: “Security Tips”, by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Anthony Placid, stressed that the role of CSOs with their observers could not be underestimated in achieving credible elections in any country.
Placid stressed that with their unbiased reports gathered during the election, policies can be revisited to further strengthen and rebuild the electoral process.
The assistant commissioner further emphasised that with a healthy partnership between CSOs, INEC, and Security agencies, sensitisation, and media advocacy toward the fight against hate speech and misinformation before, during, and after the election could be achieved.
In another paper presentation, titled: “Technology and 2023 Election”, the Kogi State’s INEC HOD, VR ICT, Mr. Egbeeye Olagoke, said INEC were ready to deploy all technologies at their disposals to ensure that the election was well conducted.
According to him, one of the major technologies, is the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which is an electronic device designed to read Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and authenticate voters.
He explained that BVAS using the voters’ fingerprints in order to prove that they were eligible to vote at a particular polling unit would ensure fair and credible elections.
”BVAS usage entails either scanning the barcode/QR code on the PVC/Voter’s register or entering the last six digits of the Voter Identity Number or typing in the last name of the voter by the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO 1) to verify and authenticate the voter.
Other paper presentation were: ”Unbundling the v?Voting Result Transmission Processes and TMG Check List usage by observers.