March 18 Polls: CTA deploys 2,000 observers, opens situation room in Asaba

The Executive Director, CTA, Ms Faith Nwadishi, addressing press conference on Friday at the opening of election day situation room in Asaba, Delta. Pix by NAN

THE Centre for Transparency and Advocacy (CTA), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has deployed 2,000 observers to monitor the March 18, Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Nigeria.

The Executive Director, CTA, Ms Faith Nwadishi, disclosed this on Friday at the opening of Election Day Situation Room in Asaba, Delta.

She said that the centre would serve as monitoring room for Saturday’s elections in the entire country, noting that about 75 observers, including the technical crew, had been deployed to Delta.

Nwadishi said that the centre had deployed 54 trained observers to monitor elections in the 25 Local Government Areas of Delta.

She said the centre had confidence in the ability of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver a credible, free and fair polls on Saturday and had encouraged citizens to come out en masse to  perform their civic responsibility.

Nwadishi noted that INEC adopting technological innovations in the electioneering process in the country, energised the youth and had thrown up surprises during the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

She said though there were issues arising from the presidential elections, the litigants are addressing it but  cautioned the citizens not to take laws into their hands but to go and cast their votes to their preferred candidates on Saturday.

“INEC’s technological innovations were deployed for the presidential and national assembly elections.

“Energised by the prospect of having their votes count, a new layer of Nigerians, especially the youth, became politically active in a manner never witnessed in the political history of the country.

“Two weeks after the elections, there are still mixed feelings about the process and the outcomes of the election.

“A good number of the citizens are of the opinion that INEC failed to fulfill some of the promises it made with regards to the electronic transmission of election results.

“Already, there are court cases challenging this perceived infractions against the electoral act.

“While we commend the litigants for following due process in ventilating their grievances, we call on the citizens to remain law abiding as we await outcome of the judicial processes.

“It is against this background that the INEC is set to conduct the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly Elections  on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

“The CTA has been actively involved in the observation of the Nigerian electoral process from its inception, accredited Domestic Observer Group and deployed 2,000 observers who sent in reports in real time.

“This made it possible for the CTA to have firsthand information as to what happened during the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly election day,” she said.

Nwadishi added, “in line with our usual practice, the CTA is opening its Situation Room here in Asaba, considering that there will be no elections in the Federal Capital Territory.

“Our observers have been trained on election observation and adherence to INEC Election Guidelines.”

The center, however, charged INEC to deploy the use of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and ensure the deployment of competent electoral officers while ensuring that equipment and materials arrive all polling units early enough and to ensure security.

On his part, Dr Emeka Oniuamadu, former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Enugu State, urged the citizens, particularly the youth, to sustain the pressure by coming out to vote during elections.

According to him, the electoral process has gradually improved over the years and with the BVAS technology in place, election rigging would soon be a thing of the past in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CTA team included Prof. Anthony Kola-Olusan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University; Prof. Alex Asigbo of Nnamdi Azukiwe University, Awka; and Babatunde Oluaja, Director in CTA, among others. (NAN)