A coalition of civil society organisations on Friday hailed the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission, ENSIEC, over its level of preparedness for the local government elections scheduled for November 4 in Enugu State.
The group, Network of Civil Society Organizations, is in Enugu to observe the polls, which would hold across the 17 local government areas of the State.
A leader of the group, Kalu Victor, at a pre-election press briefing held at the conference hall of Hotel Cordiale, Enugu, alongside leaders of other civil society groups, said the team had so far observed that “the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission is resolute, transparent and committed to conducting a free and fair local government elections in the state, hence provided a level playing ground for all political parties in the State to participate in the election.
“The actions and conducts of ENSIEC, to the best of our knowledge, are so far guided by the State Electoral Laws.
“We gathered that after due consultations and considerations with relevant stakeholders, especially political parties, with respect to the State Electoral Laws, ENSIEC released the timetable for the election, in which 4th November, 2017 was announced and set aside for the election to be held. The timetable and date for the election were unanimously accepted by all political parties in the State and all other stakeholders.
“We observed that for the first time in the history of the State, strong and formidable opposition parties are seriously campaigning and mobilizing to challenge the ruling party in Enugu State in the Local Government polls, this has made the election very interesting.
“We noted that the various candidates emerged through transparent internal party democratic process in their various parties.”
As part of their recommendations, the observers urged the ENSIEC to give priority “to difficult terrains in the state in terms of distribution of election materials to ensure quick and timely commencement of election in such areas.
“Political parties should ensure adequate presence of their party agents in all the poling units for effective party representation during election.”
Apart from the ENSIEC, the team also commended the various security agencies in the state for the assurances of providing a secure and peaceful environment for the election, urging them “never to lose focus but rather remain resolute in safeguarding lives and property even after the elections.
“We commend His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Enugu State for considering it necessary to conduct this very important Local Government Election in the State not minding the economic challenges which other states are using as an excuse.
“We, therefore, advise the government not to interfere in the administration of the chairmen and councilors who would be elected so that the grassroots can directly benefit from the dividends of democracy and good governance in Enugu State.”
The council elections were preceded by intense campaign, with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State accompanied by officials of the Peoples Democratic Party holding rallies across the 17 local government areas and 260 electoral wards of the state canvassing votes for the party’s candidates.