Edo Civil Societies Open situation room ahead of Guber Election


Conference of Non-Governmental Organization (CONGOS) in collaboration with Justice Development and Peace Commission(JDPC), Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWS) and Uromi Branch JDPCI, has officially opened its situation room ahead of the 21 September, 2024 governorship election in Edo State.

This was stated by the President of CONGOS and Director General, Edo State Civil Society Situation Room, Mrs. Abiola Daisy Igaga at a press conference held in Benin City, Edo State Capital.

Mrs. Igala said other civil societies are co-opted as members of the situation room for effective representation and to ensure that the world was put abreast of the election and determine their validity to become a conventional indulgence.

She stressed that in Nigeria, the post-election relevance of election observers and monitors derives validity from the disputations, altercations or brouhaha that accompany the conclusion of elections in Nigeria.

According to Mrs Igala “No doubt, the court is a primary arbiter to resolve issues of disagreement between and among parties, but the absurdity of the Nigerian situation is that at the end of every election, there is a plethora of election cases that sometimes take over three years to exhaust”.

Mrs Igala explained that Nigerians implement democratic process or they have the character of being bad losers.

“In whichever way this charade manifests, there is need for a social engineering perspective that would properly situate the process of our democratic delivery or reconfigure the psychological state of our people in the way they respond to losing in an election. In dealing with this negation, we must evolve enlightenment processes that deal with mindset orientation for our political leaders from various spheres of social expression” She added .

Mrs Igala stated: “In relating with and interrogating our conventional challenges, we must clearly situate the negativity of ethnicity and religious dogmatism in defining the way our people relate with reality. These are factors that the political leadership exploit in altering the perception of the people in their electoral valuation and conduct”.

She said the resort to pre-election violence and post-election are negative omen in the electoral system and called for it resituation.

Mrs. Igala stated that drawing from this, Edo State Civil Society Situation Room, as constituted, comes with a lot of responsibilities, hence, it must be meticulously handled.

She noted that it is in this context that Edo State Civil Society Situation Room, articulate stakeholders’ collaboration that will enrich data collection, the synthesis of processes, and resolving the overlaps that is conveyed in the diversity of the state and country in religion, ethnicity and culture.

Mrs. Igala therefore, explained that Edo Civil Society Situation Room, is focused at a holistic approach that would effectively respond to the diverse points which underpins the present contradictions in evolving a genuine democratic process.

She added, ” We hold that democracy and development trend on common syntax and are symbiotic. Where the democratic process is impaired, it alters the delivery of the political system”.

In his remark, the Director of Uromi JPCI, Rev Fr. Dr. Fidelis Arhedo stated, “As civil society organizations in the state we have come out here today to see that the election in Edo State is quite different from every other election conducted and that this year’s election will be free and fair ”.

The chairperson for the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWA) Edo State, Mrs Ann Ojugo commended Edo Civil Society for setting – up the situation room, describing it as a novel one as it would boost the confidence of the physically challenged who were before now marginalized to come out and cast their votes.

She expressed confidence that the previous challenges being encountered such as the inaccessibility of the voting booths by persons with disabilities would be addressed to avoid their disenfranchisement.

The representative of Echoes of Women in Africa, Louisa Agbonghae stated that “Election that is riddled with violence is not free and fair. So, we are going to be reporting on issues of violence against women in the forthcoming elections” and that with the setting up of the situation room, her organization will be looking out for reports of violence against women as voters, candidates, electoral officers, political agents and law enforcement agents in the forthcoming elections. She also pointed out that they will be looking out for accountability and transparency during the forthcoming elections which will culminate in good governance.”

The representative of the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Deputy Commandant of the Corp, and Head of Operations ,Alfred Etinagbedia in a goodwill message applauded the initiative as he claimed it will give more credence to the conduct of the election.

In another vain, the representative of the Department of State Security commended the initiative while imploring for the replication of the initiative to the 18 local government areas of the state to ensure wide and adequate coverage during the elections.

Comrade Dr. Bartholomew Okoudo, president CONGOS in his remarks stated, “ we have come out here today to establish Edo State Civil Society Situation Room, to ensure that this year’s election will be credible and violence free and persons with disabilities will be able to participate in the election.”

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