By Christian George
The Centre for Democracy and Development has identified key issues which could hamper the smooth running of presidential and senatorial elections on Saturday.
The group which stated that these issues would determine the voting patterns and the outcome of the election, presented the voting pattern determinants at the opening of its Election Analysis Centre and pre-election press briefing at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja on Friday.
According to Tribune, CDD is deploying a total of 4,993 trained and accredited observers, data clerks, fact-checkers and social media monitors for both the presidential, legislative and governorship elections, assessed the election as one that will be closely contested with four candidates – Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party which is likely to have a significant say in the outcome which, at this stage, remains difficult to predict.
The issues, according to EAC Chair, Professor Adele Jinadu and CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, is encapsulated in what they term as identity, insecurity, institutions, information disorder as well as inter and intra party squabbles.
While harping on insecurity, the group stressed that all six geopolitical zones of the country are confronted by insecurity, which has led to the deployment of the Nigerian military across the federation.
“Northern states are engulfed in long-standing violence with extremist jihadist groups, criminal bandit gangs, and other non-stated armed groups who are engaged in deadly attacks against local communities. In the south, civil unrest continues against the backdrop of ongoing violence between farmers and herders and secessionist agitators.
“The situation is further complicated by fuel and currency scarcity which is increasing economic hardships on the more than 130 million Nigerians classified as multi-dimensionally poor”, it added.
On information, CDD stressed that “trust is a scarce commodity in Nigeria and this fact is only being exacerbated by the volume of misleading content online” while inter and intra-party squabbles is seen in violent events involving political parties increasing as contestation intensifies within and between groups vying for power, despite all parties signing the National Peace Accord.
On the role of institutions, the group expressed that INEC, and the security agencies are faced with a herculean challenge to manage logistics and secure the electoral terrain.
On the panacea to the issues raised, the group said “the government should ensure INEC and the security agencies have the necessary resources at their disposal to roll out their comprehensive plans for election day operations and ensure polls take place in a safe, free and fair environment.
Also, facts checking on social media should be encouraged as well as the prevention of the spread of malicious information about the elections by Nigerians in diaspora.