Over the years, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) is known to promote the benefits of transparency and accountability in public service and to cause a reawakening in the society to imbibe the tenets of transparency and accountability in Nigeria.
The press conference was an opportunity for the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) to have a press briefing ahead of the elections and officially open their situation room to follow up field reports from deployed observers nationwide.
- To officially open the CTA situation room to monitor reports of the happenings from field observers deployed into the field nationwide.
The briefing had in attendance 17 media houses, other stakeholders, CTA staff and expert team members.
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
The press statement was read out by Professor Anthony Kola Oluwasanye. He started by saying that the 2023 General Elections are a defining moment for Nigerians and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) given the state of insecurity in the country.
The attacks on INEC facilities in some parts of the country remain a serious challenge in the conduct of these elections. Several innovations were deployed by INEC which include the deployment of the Bi-modal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), and electronic collation of election results in real-time (from the polling unit (PU) to the INEC’s result viewing portal).
The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) in its usual practice is deploying a total of 2000 observers and to support the field observers, the CTA has set up a situation room to follow up on field reports.
Some of the CTA’s contributions towards the successful conduct of the elections are; conducting stakeholder meetings in the six geo-political zones of the country, observing the INEC Mock Accreditation exercise, training observers and holding press conferences to address issues as it arises. CTA commend INEC for not relaxing on its work and charged electorates to remain vigilant, law abiding and peaceful in their conduct as they go about their civic rights
QUESTIONS SESSION BY THE MEDIA.
- What is CTA’s security assessment for the election knowing the fact that some states have already been listed that there should be on red alert like Lagos, Kano etc. does CTA have security pre-election analysis and perhaps any state that should be in the front burner that security men should look out for?
Response by the expert team: During the cause of preparing for the elections, CTA has received reports from various state representatives. During the Mock Accreditation exercise, one of CTA’s observers was harassed and injured and security men present told her that the polling unit is a flash point and that the police are helpless. This happened in Delta state.
Another flash point is Rivers state and Imo state. Places where INEC said there will be no elections; in Imo, 38 polling units, and in Taraba 36 polling units are in a serious state of concern even in the past, elections in these areas have been in the raider. Gwagwalada in the FCT is another area of concern because CTA was almost mobbed during their observers training in the area.
The Executive Director made it clear that the message CTA wish to pass is that people need to stay alive to vote so security is topmost for the organization.
Finally, she added that in the consultations CTA has across the six- geopolitical zones, security has always been an issue.
The FRSC has pointed out the issue of high numbers of unregistered vehicles using tinted glass in town. This is also a state of concern.
Having taken response to the question, the situation room was officially opened. (Consultations continue)
- How strong is the INEC ICT in preventing cyber attacks
Response: The INEC has done a lot to strengthen its back end to avoid cyber-attacks.
CONSULTATION WITH THE CTA EXPERT TEAM
THE ISSUE OF SECURITY AND PEACEFUL CONDUCT
Professor Aiyede Emmanuel spoke about Security being key for CTA, and ensuring the safety of observers and electorates is topmost. He mentioned that CTA is not dependent on the information from field observers alone but has also paid close attention to the pre-election security environment because security has always posed to be a major challenge.
The expert team call on the press to fact-check whatever is put out in the public domain. Dr Babatunde Oluwajo charged the media to educate and engage the people so that they can be patient enough to wait for the results to be collated and announced to avoid any form of chaos.
They also advised that where malpractices are taking place, electorates should not turn themselves to security agents but rather report to the nearest place.
CTA ED & the Expert Team
cross -section of critical stakeholders