The Pre–Election Fact-Finding Delegation from the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) have visited Kano state and engaged with stakeholders on the coming 2023 elections.
The high powered delegation were in the state to access the level of preparedness and established issues ahead of the 2023 general elections held at the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD).
The leader of the delegation and Former Chairman of Electoral Commission in Ghana, Mr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said they were in Kano and Nigeria at large for fact-finding ahead of the country’s 2023 general elections in line with ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol 2021 to observe elections in Nigeria.
According to Afari-Gyan, the fact-finding delegation would meet with stakeholders, political parties, traditional and religious institutions, Civil society groups, security agencies and the ministry of foreign affairs to find out their level of preparedness and challenges relating to the 2023 general elections in the 6 Geo-Political Zones of Nigeria.
“The outcome of our findings would enable ECOWAS to know areas of support for the 2023 elections.”
On his part, Director of Political Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Remi Ajibewa, said the outcome of the 2023 general elections of Nigeria will have effects on the West Africa region and Africa continent as a whole.
He said, “we all know the significance Nigeria holds in West Africa, holding to the widely used caption, if Nigeria sneezes, the whole West Africa catches cold and we don’t pray that will be the result. So, we are here to listen to you, to see the area of challenges that we might also report.”
Journalists and Civil Society Organisations in Kano present at the session unanimously indicated violence against Journalists and CSOs, political thuggery, vote buying, inadequate security, hate speech, misinformation and disinformation, Inconclusive elections, lack of credibility on the part of the electoral officers during vote counting among several worrying issues sums up the political atmosphere of Kano in the previous elections.
The Journalists and CSOs noted that, the issues highlighted above have made voters discouraged and thrown into fear of voting. Thereby, resulting in mass political apathy ahead of the 2023 general election.
Mr Afari-Gyan while appreciating CITAD for hosting them, noted that the delegation has recorded all the inputs from the participants and vows to sit down with his team towards mapping out workable solutions for achieving a free, fair and credible election in Nigeria comes 2023.
Other members of the delegation are Dr. Francis Gabriel Oke, Dr. Eyesan Okorodudu, ACP Nuhu Hamidu, Barou Yba Luther Yokou and Abu Turay.
Earlier, the Executive Director, CITAD, Yunusa Zakari Ya’u who was represented by the centre’s Program Officer on Digital Rights, Ali Sabo said, the centre will deploy all necessary strategies towards working simultaneously with the delegation for conducting a free, fair and credible election in Kano and the country at large comes 2023 general elections.