Several CSOs under the aegis of Civil Society Committee for Anti-Fraud Election Security, CISCAES, have set up an anti-rigging war room to monitor, track and counter fraudulent practices at Saturday’s OSU governorship election, NjenjeMediaNews reports.
Speaking at a briefing in Lagos on Monday, one of the leaders of the group, Prof Pat Utomi, said the initiative is a part of efforts at ensuring a free and fair election in Osun and by extension Nigeria in 2023.
Utomi, who is the Chairman of National Consultative Front, said if the Osun governorship poll is not free and fair, it will ultimately impose a huge threat on the anticipated credibility of the 2023 general elections.
“The direct immediate consequence would become “voter apathy” in 2023 for lack of confidence in the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct transparent, fair and credible 2023 polls,” he said.
Human rights lawyer, Barrister Femi Falana (SAN), explained the anti-rigging electoral “War Room” would help to track, identify and dismantle the already existing vote-rigging mechanism.
According to him, the measure which will become fully operational on Wednesday July 13 will help to monitor, track and counter ongoing fraudulent practices before and during the election.
“Where cases of fraud or vote-rigging are identified, such shall be rightly reported to our own CSO-driven anti-rigging War Room (Situation Room) for immediate and needful interventions.
“The arraignment of the Electoral offenders will serve as a deterrent to all electoral offenders and prevent any form of impunity in the Osun State gubernatorial election fixed for July 16, 2022.
Comrade Kennedy Iyere, who is the founder of CISCAES and Youth Off The Street Initiative, explained the group will also organise and lead a pre-election “Ballot Security Solidarity March” to INEC Office in Osogbo to draw the attention of the general public to the critical need for a credible “Osun 2022 guber-poll”.
He also added CISCAES and its allies will sensitise, train, recruit, mobilise and deploy youths as volunteers for “ward-2-ward” and “Polling Unit-2-Polling Unit” anti-rigging ballot monitoring exercise.
“This is designed to enforce ballot policing by youth voters and other electorates at their various wards and Polling units.
“This intervention shall compel ballot security and surveillance which will make it too difficult or impossible for INEC to either manipulate the BVAS or effect other technical vote-rigging measures,” he added.
Other members of the group include: Emmanuel Ijewere, President of Agribusiness group; Ambassador Sylvester Okoduwa, Regional Coordinator of Transition Monitoring Group; Dr. Tanko Yunusa, spokesperson of the National Consultative Front(NCF); Funke Awolowo, Steering Committee Member of the National Consultative Front (NCF); Comrade Abdulazeez Ismail Abiodun, Chairman of Osun State Chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
Others are: Barrister Christian Wogu, President, Schechinal Law House; Olawale Okunniyi, DG, National Consultative Front (NCFront); Comrade Oloye Adegboyega Adeniji, Lagos State Chairman and National Coordinator of Peace Action Transformation (PACT); Alhaji Waheed Lawan, Chairman of Osun State Network of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Comrade Michael Ebofin, President of Network of NGOs in Osun State (NETNOS).