Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) has assured people of the state of free and fair local government elections on Feb. 23.
Chairman of the commission, Dr Michael Ajogwu, gave the assurance at a workshop on inclusivity, organised by ENSIEC and European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), in Enugu on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the commission had fixed Feb. 23 for elections into all the 260 councillorship and 17 local government chairmanship seats in the state.
Ajogwu, who was represented by the Commissioner in-charge of Administration in the commission, Dr Anike Nweze, said that ENSIEC had put all modalities in place to ensure credible and peaceful council polls.
“We are assuring the good people of Enugu State, political parties and their candidates that the council elections, scheduled for Feb. 23, will be free and fair.
“As a commission, we have put all necessary modalities and arrangements in place for hitch-free and violence-free council elections in the state,” he said.
The chairman also lauded ECES for partnering and synergising with the commission as well as helping to build capacity of various stakeholders and groups participating in the council elections.
Earlier, the Project Coordinator of ECES, Mr Hamza Fassi-Fihri, stressed the need for active inclusion of people with disabilities (PWDs), youths and women in elections and political processes.
Fassi-Fihri said that ECES was happy to partner with ENSIEC on the upcoming local government elections, given its important role on local democracy.
He said: “Indeed, democracy never delivers as much as when elections are inclusive.
“Inclusivity guarantees that all people have the possibility to make their voices heard and this is even more important for the youth, women and persons with disability who are marginalised.
“The society has to invest efforts in ensuring that citizens have equal access to voting rights and helping to make the right real and effective.
“This is because youths represent 60 per cent of the population, with women representing more than 50 per cent and PWDs more than 20 per cent.
“More importantly, it is because they are part of the society as well as important tenets of the nation, while their voices have to be heard, just like any other citizen,” he said.
According to him, against the backdrop of the ongoing amendment to Electoral Act, representatives of PWDs, civil societies, women and youth organisations have been pushing for change in the legal framework to ensure greater participation and representation.
“We, as ECES, are proud to be partners with some of these organisations on this all-important milestone to achieving inclusivity,” he added.