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Read full statement with amazing suggestions by CCN on the 2019 elections


CCN STATEMENT ON THE 2019 GENERAL
ELECTIONS
Abuja, 11 March, 2019

The Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), an ecumenical organization, operates nation-wide through its 16 member churches located in all the states of Nigeria. The member churches are: The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, The Methodist Church Nigeria, The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The Nigerian Baptist Convention, The Salvation Army, The African Church, The First African Church Mission, The Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship), The United Evangelical Church of Nigeria, The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, The Lutheran Church of Nigeria, Community of Christ Nigeria Mission Center Int, The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Nigeria,  United African Methodist Church Organization, The Orthodox Church, and Christ Church Beach land.

The CCN was founded in 1929 and is grounded in the Christian faith. With a focus that humankind inhabiting a world created by God deserves dignified life, peace and unity, the CCN has a mission of facilitating and building capacity of grass root citizens through the churches. The Council serves as the conscience of the society, sensitizing the populace on national issues based on ethical behaviors, good moral standards and inculcates responsibilities that ensure promotion of national interest in Nigerian citizens.

In election times, CCN members do not limit themselves to prayers for peaceful elections and unity of Nigeria alone but also carry out activities for the advancement of the nation’s democracy. The Council provides the platform for the church community to contribute to democratic electoral processes in Nigeria. Thus, in the 2015 General Elections, the Council actively participated both in civic/voter education for Nigerians as well as in election observation.  In the 2019 General Elections, the Council sensitized and mobilized Nigerians to understand and appreciate citizenship rights and responsibilities. The CCN also recruited and trained 2600 domestic observers who were deployed across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory with spread across polling units, electoral wards and Local Government Areas in the country.

The CCN congratulates Nigerians for their patriotism and sacrifices demonstrated through mass turn-out for voting, especially during the February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections despite initial fears and concerns, following the postponement of the elections by INEC. The Council also commends all domestic and international observers as well as other stakeholders for their support in ensuring the relative success of the 2019 election processes. We further acknowledge the effort of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring that the elections held as rescheduled and for being proactive in responding to the complaints of voters especially cases of failed card readers and extension of voting time for some polling units where voting commenced late. We equally applaud INEC for adjusting to early arrival of officials and voting materials during the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections.

The Council observed that the late arrival of election officials and materials at some polling units during the Presidential elections resulted in late commencement of accreditation and voting processes which contributed to voters’ apprehension. Shortage of materials was also observed in some polling units while in some others voting did not take place.

The Council observed that the use of the Permanent Voter Cards which hold unique biometrics of voters along with Smart Card Readers enhanced the integrity of the electoral processes by ensuring that only eligible voters could cast their votes. This reduced the incidences of multiple voting. However, there were reported cases in most of the States where the Smart Card Readers were unable to authenticate the biometrics of voters; and there were required to go through the manual accreditation process. There were also cases where voters with PVCs could not find their names on the voter’s register and ended up being disenfranchised.

Although there were few cases of harassment and brutality by the security agencies as observed in Cross River and River States, in most parts of the country, the security operatives discharged their duties with an appreciable level of professionalism. The Observers deployed by the Council also found that the distribution of security officers around polling units was not consistent in terms of numbers as there were locations with less than three officers, thereby leaving room for voter’s intimidation and harassment by political thugs. The Council took note of cases of killing and other forms of violence, ballot box burning, ballot box stuffing, and ballot box snatching. These were recorded in Rivers, Nasarawa, Benue, Yobe, Sokoto, Kogi, Lagos, Enugu, Oyo and Anambra States. These incidents are considered dents on the credibility of the 2019 general elections.

The Council condemns in strong terms the killings recorded on account of the elections in many parts of the Country. This should not be happening at this stage of the nation’s democracy. The Council prays the Almighty God to bring comfort to the families of citizens who lost their lives. We urge law enforcement agencies to ensure that culprits are fished out and prosecuted accordingly to serve as a deterrent to those contemplating making themselves available for such dastardly acts in future elections.

The Council, however, would like to call on INEC to consider the following recommendations in order to improve on future elections
1. INEC should improve on its logistic arrangement, putting in to consideration the reality of infrastructure as well as human capacity available within limited time. No element in the chain of operation should be underestimated so as put an end to the issue of election postponement and late resumption at polls. INEC must also ensure that the reoccurring technical issues relating to the failure of the Smart Card Readers are completely resolved.

2. INEC should work in partnership with CSOs to give citizens of voting age intense civic and voter education. This should be an ongoing activity and should start immediately not just some fire brigade approach usually carried out shortly before elections.

3. Newly registered political parties should be restricted to only state level elections as they do not usually have the capacity to vie for Federal Level positions and are in the habit of withdrawing their candidature or collapsing their structure to support a leading party after being captured for election. Multiple logos and names are also capable of confusing voters too.

4. Centralization of payment of INEC ad hoc staff should be adopted to avoid protests that are capable of delaying opening of polls as demonstrated by ad hoc staff at Kosofe Local Government in Lagos State.

5. The menace of vote buying seems intensified by political parties. Measures should be taken to ensure arrests and prosecution of all culprits. In fact, adequate security intelligence should be provided at all polling units in order to reduce cases of vote buying.

6. Political parties should guard against all forms of incitements against opponents that can lead to violence. Parties aggrieved should seek redress through available legal instruments. The quest for a free and fair election must be seen as a collective effort and not the responsibility of INEC alone.

7. The Council calls on stakeholders not satisfied with the 2019 General Elections to explore the established legal channels to seek redress. Politicians are advised to see political office as an avenue to serve humanity and not to waste precious lives.

8.  INEC should explore the adoption of the electronic voting system in Nigeria which has been widely advocated by Nigerians

The Council wishes to express gratitude to the Church Leaders, our Ecumenical Partners and Bread for the World for their support. The Council is impressed with the enthusiasm, dedication and hard work of our observers, the state coordinators, Staff, INEC officials, Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies. 

The Council further calls on Nigerians to continually commit the nation to God and be more committed to ensuring a peaceful transition period.
God bless Nigeria!

Most Rev Dr. Benebo Fubara Fubara-Manuel
President, CCN

Rev. Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim Wushishi
General Secretary, CCN
Politics 530163432608856314

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  1. Amazing write up with the concern for the generality of Nigerians. Instead of condemning and raining abuses on the government of the day, they came out with a well organised recommendations to guide INEC as she progresses to get to perfection. Like the saying goes, "Rome was not built in a day." The "Big Nations" we refer to every now and then didn't miraculously get to where they are today. They worked for it and some fought wars, some dissolved in attempt to get it right. Nigeria is a God given Nation to us and we must guide and protect her with all amount of energy we can expend.
    I want to thank CCN and the leading Team in charge of the Organisation, Dr. Fubara Manuel and Dr. Wushishi. I enjoin them to remain steadfast to issue wise counsels to the Government when she errs. It is not every time that we preach the message of condemnation. The God we serve is a loving God whose Mercies are renewed every morning. I wish to enjoin "propheting ministers" who see doom all the time to borrow a leaf from what CCN has done and pray for the wellbeing of Nigerians and Nigeria. Every Nigerian is important be that a Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba or those of us from the minority tribes. The blood of a Nigerian is too thick to be wasted on the streets.
    The journey to the promised land is far but I believe we will get there and not too long from now.

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