The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations on Gender Equality, Leadership and Good Governance has advised INEC to ensure it conducts a credible and less controversial Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Mrs Elizabeth Oziri, the National President of the coalition and Executive Chairperson, Women and Child Disaster Rescue Initiativess, gave the advice in a statement issued in Umuahia and made available to newsmen on Thursday.
The coalition decried the spate of violence that charaterised the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections in some parts of the country.
It urged Nigerians to shun all forms of violence, including threats and intimidation of fellow citizens in the remaining elections.
The coalition stated that reports from its election observers deployed in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT for the polls indicated that the elections lacked the needed credibility to pass for a free and fair exercise.
The group urged INEC to ensure a better and more credible exercise in order to redeem its image, allegedly battered by its poor handling of the polls.
According to Oziri, the irregularities that marred the polls inflicted a major dent on Nigeria’s image.
She further stated that the International Joint Observation Mission (IJOM) “also observed the irregularities, thereby exposing the country to ridicule”.
“Although the exercise was devoid of any hitches and chaos in some wards and polling units, it was not so in a majority of others.
“Issues like operational irregularities, logistics challenges, intimidation, violence, suspected compromise and poor network needed to transmit collated results from the BVAS machines to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal affected the exercise.
“Most of the local and IJOM clearly agreed with us that the process did not meet international standards,” Oziri further stated.
She, nevertheless, encouraged Nigerians, especially the youths, not to despair or take the law into their hands but embrace peace and turn out en masse for the remaining polls.
“Nigeria is the only country we have, we must defend our land as we still believe in the promises she holds,” she added.
Some leaders of other Civil Society Organisations that also endorsed the statement were the Executive Chairperson of African Youth Union Commission, Ojikeme Enakeme, and Head of Rescue Women Amnesty International, Shulamite Nwaoze.
Others were Michelle Peter of the Nigeria Female Youth Organisation, Shehu Mannir of the Association of Entrepreneurs for Disabled Persons and Deborah Usman of the Youth Speak Out, amongst others.
Meanwhile, INEC on Wednesday night announced the postponement of the Governorship and House of Assembly polls from Saturday, March 11 to Saturday, March 18.
The commission took the decision to postpone the exercise after it obtained a Court of Appeal Order to reconfigure the BVAS machines, preparatory to the conduct of the outstanding polls.(NAN)