By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu, Nov. 11, 2020 INEC has tasked the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to assist in creating more awareness among voters on the need to vote at elections.
Dr Emeka Ononamadu, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, gave the charge on Wednesday while speaking at a consultative meeting with media practitioners and CSOs on the suspended Isi-Uzo State Constituency bye-Election.
Naija247news reports that Isi-Uzo State Constituency bye-election in Enugu State slated to hold on Oct. 31 was suspended because of the violence that trailed the October EndSARS protest.
Ononamadu lamented the low turnout of voters in the last general elections in the state, and said: “we do not want to experience another low turnout in Isi-Uzo State Constituency bye-election.
“It is unfortunate that people are still in fear and police personnel are yet to return fully to work due to the last #EndSARS violence and we cannot conduct this election without the presence of police personnel,’’ he said.
Meanwhile stakeholders at the meeting expressed mixed reaction over the conduct of the election.
While some said that the conduct of the election would not be feasible with the security situation in the country today, others suggested that the people should be given more time to overcome their fears and trauma.
Mrs Onyeka Udegbunam, Executive Director of Hope Givers Initiative, said that the election might not be feasible this year as police personnel who were targeted during the EndSARS protest were yet to return to duty.
“I want to suggest that the election be shifted to next year because those that lost their loved ones are still in trauma so we should give them time to recover from their loss,’’ Udegbunam said.
In his contribution, Mr Sam Obiefuna, Executive Director of Disability Policy and Empowerment Consult, cautioned against instilling fear in the electorates.
“We want to believe that INEC has finished all the preparation for the conduct of the election before the EndSARS protest, so it should liaise with the Inspector-General of Police to decide the suitable date for the election.
“But, I want to suggest that if it cannot conduct the election in November, it should be postponed till January because December cannot be feasible because its festive month and we might not get people’s attention,’’ Obiefuna said.
INEC declared the Isi-Uzo seat in the Enugu State House of Assembly vacant after the death of the member representing the area, Hon. Chijioke Ugwueze.