In its determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to partner with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Dr Frankland Briyai, Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River, said on Friday in Calabar at a round-table meeting with over 100 representatives of CSOs in the state that the electoral body was poised to deliver acceptable polls.
Briyai said that with 98 days left for the conduct of the 2019 polls, the commission needed to partner with relevant stakeholders for hitch-free polls.
He described CSOs as important stakeholders in the Nation’s democratic process, hence, the need for closer relationship with the commission.
The REC urged the CSOs to carry out voter education and sensitise the public on the electoral process.
He added that they should also mobilise eligible persons to participate in the electoral activities such as collection of Permanent Voters Card and elections.
“As an observer group, the CSOs are saddled with the responsibility of keeping watchful eyes on the entire election process.
“Election observation has become an internationally accepted norm which both established and emerging democracies have embraced.
“In 2015, INEC accredited 108 observers groups, both locally and internationally for the election.
“An observer should understand and know that their roles differ from that of monitoring so that they do not dabble into it.
“By so doing, sticking only to observation and not interfering with the electoral process”, he said.
He urged them to register with INEC with a view to ensure they get their full accreditation and tags before going into the field.
Speaking, Mr Effiom Duke, from Green Concern for Development and Leadership, urged INEC to enhance their legal approach by prosecuting arrested electoral offenders.
Also, Mr Egbe Etta, from Community Based Strategic Development, called on the Police and INEC to ensure maximum security for CSOs and electorates during the polls.