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Edo 2024: INEC wants CSOs and PWDs to participate in election process

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Thursday charged members of various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Persons living with Disabilities (PWDs) to be actively involved in the forthcoming electoral process in Edo state.

Ahead of the Edo governorship election, scheduled for September 2024, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha, said this at a meeting to familiarise himself with all the CSOs and PWDs in the state, having just resumed as the REC in Edo.

Speaking further, Onuoha said the commission would not leave any strata of the society behind as it prepares for the September governorship election, saying this explains its engagement with the CSOs and other groups.

He explained that inclusivity was part of INEC’s mandate to ensure that all critical stakeholders were carried along in the electoral process and in the upcoming governorship election in the state.

He stated that the CSOs served as a link between the people and government, adding that CSOs help to strengthen public confidence in the electoral process.

“The important role you play in our electoral process such as voter education cannot be over emphasised. So I am happy that you are here today for us to strengthen our collaborations.”

The REC urged the CSOs to be actively involved in the electoral process by following up all INEC activities leading to the governorship election in September.

“Do not wait till September to get involved in the process. We want you to be involved in all our activities beginning with party primaries down to the conduct of the governorship election.

“Sadly, the CSOs are only interested in the election proper not the process leading to the election.

“I say this because you were all in this state when all the political party aspirants were campaigning when it was not time for campaign, according to INEC guidelines for the election.

“None of you wrote a letter of observation to us or even condemned the actions of the political parties until we had to hold a press conference and several meetings with the political parties before they stopped.

“So this meeting is to encourage you to be actively involved as major and critical stakeholders,” Onuoha said

Onuoha, who took time to explain INEC’s preparedness ahead of the governorship election in September, said the commission had monitored party primaries and published form EC9C in all the local government areas and carried out trainings.

He disclosed that the next item on the time table was campaign that would commence on April 24, adding that the commission was also ready to monitor the campaigns in the state.

He also charged the CSOs to detached themselves from politiking itself and focus on its mandate of being the watch-dogs and sensitising the public on the importance of having a voters card.

According to him, “this meeting is to familiarise with the CSO and PWD groups in the state and to charge you all to be actively involved in the process leading to the election.”

Mrs Louisa Elkhomun-Agbonkhese, the Founder, Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative, appreciated INEC for the robust engagement, adding that the CSOs were ready to collaborate with the commission for an improved quality election.

Elkhomun-Agbonkhese, while appreciating INEC for starting the electoral activities on time, urged it to sanction any political party who violate the election guidelines.

According to her, “on our own part, we have been carrying out our duties of educating the people on their civic duties. So we have been doing our job

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