The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, has deployed 42 observers to monitor the November 11 governorship election in Kogi State.
The Kogi State Coordinator of TMG Mrs Racheal Remilekun Akande disclosed this on Saturday during a training for local government observers for enhanced citizens engagement ahead of the off-cycle election.
Akande, who noted that the training is part of the organization’s commitment toward a transparent, hitch free election in Kogi State, added that it was also targeted at complementing government, security agencies and INEC’s efforts in ensuring credible, free, and fair elections.
According to her, the training would help observers to have an in-depth knowledge of the modalities in reporting election issues, stressing that they must always remain neutral on the field.
A facilitator at the training, Success Adejoh, noted that the local government observers are expected to know their roles and responsibilities in monitoring the election, reporting irregularities, and fostering an environment conducive to citizen participation.
” TMG aims to empower local observers to effectively play their part in ensuring a free and fair election, promoting democracy in the region and strengthening the confidence of citizens in the electoral system” he said.
Also speaking, the Zonal Coordinator of TMG Reuben Joshua expressed optimism that electorates will come out in their numbers to cast votes for candidates of their choice.
He lamented on the high level of disinformation and misinformation across Kogi State which has created fears in the minds of electorates before the election.
“We have been on the field observing a lot of things ahead of this election. Some of the feelers we are getting are hate speeches, disinformation and misinformation which is going round social media and communities that there will be violence and castigation of candidates.
“All these are causing fears in the mind of the people and electorates. TMG has been able to counter this misinformation and disinformation that is being peddled around by enemies of democracy. We have gone as far as fact checking all this information to know whether they are true or false,” he stated
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Teens Educational Development and Information Initiative, Titus Adekunle Alonge lamented that despite the series of sensitization across board for a transparent hitch free election, some individuals are over heating the polity.
Sharing his experience in previous elections, Alonge said, “I was held hostage in the previous election. The security agencies who always tell us things will go well have always failed us. If you remember 2019, they promised us heaven and earth that there would be no crisis. There was a meeting that was held here in Lokoja where the then Inspector General of Police, top military officers, other security agencies were in attendance. Right there, innocent citizens were still tear gassed and hurt.
“I won’t blame the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that much even though they also have their own challenges. Where I observed, a former Deputy Governor was stopped from casting his vote.
” In front of security agencies, supporters of other party where driven out of the polling unit since they are not casting their votes for a party. Some of us have to stand up against such injustice. The security agencies in that area were compromised, including some electoral officials.
“Personally, I have fears. We are on ground. I don’t belong to any political party or a card-carrying member of one. I am an independent body. It is worthy to note that this is the most scary election that will be conducted in Kogi State and I pray they get it right. If not, when emotions set in, there will be problems in the state.”
He, however, appealed to INEC and security agencies to weed out bad eggs from their system in order to have a transparent, free and fair election in Kogi State.