The chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has challenged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to carry out their responsibilities devoid of partial affiliations and partisanship.
Jega gave the advice in a keynote address at a one-day interactive forum for INEC and CSOs, sponsored by UNDP-Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) Project in Abuja.
He also assured that the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) will soon commence nationwide.
He said: “While many citizens expect INEC to do its job with impartiality, with professionalism, we will also expect CSOs to be impartial, to be non partisan in the way which they engage in the electoral process.”
He observed what he called a “creeping tendency” among CSOs accredited for election monitoring to play to the gallery and give in to the biddings of politicians.
“We have seen how some politicians have used some CSOs in their role as Election Observers and indeed now we are seeing how some politicians are using reports of CSOs as exhibits in order to push their cases in court.
“Under normal circumstances if CSOs do their job professionally, with impartiality and non partisanship there is no problem if their reports are used in court in order to prove if elections were done right or wrong.”
Jega assured that the commission was still investigating such organisations and won’t accredit them for future elections.
He appreciated the role the CSOs play in their engagement of citizens in the electoral process, providing reports and criticisms which, according to him, had helped the commission in its responsibility.