The Nigerian Human Rights Community (NIHRCO) has deployed 400 election observers to monitor the Ekiti State local government election slated for Saturday, December 2.
In a statement on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, NIHRCO said it had completed plans to deploy 400 local observers across the 16 local governments and 22 local council development areas for the Saturday poll.
The observers are expected to monitor and document pre, during and post-election issues relating to democratic gains, challenges, threats and opportunities with the overall aim of deepening the democratic space in Nigeria and empowering the people to take charge of their affairs.
NIHRCO is a coalition of 132 civil society and human rights group spread across Nigeria.
The election will hold in 2,445 polling units, 177 wards and three Senatorial Districts across the state.
The election is to elect chairmen for the 16 LGAs and 22 LCDAs and about 177 councillors who will drive development at the grassroots level for the next three years.
The group stated that local council elections were as important as national elections.
“The local councils are the first point of economic reference by Nigerians. The councils are the closest to the people. The Local Council officials are the ones the people see and relate with on local, state and national issues of development. It remains a critical aspect of sustainable development that is unfortunately ignored by the people, the opposition and the local and international communities’’ the statement signed by Taiwo Adeleye, Fred Ojinika and Kudu Abubakar said.
The coalition said majority of Nigerians lived in rural communities and were directly affected by socio-economic situations at the local levels, adding that electing the right people at the local councils would help eliminate public distrust and contribute to choosing the right people at the state and national levels.
The group said it was high time Nigerians began to take local government elections seriously, adding that in recent times, allocation to local councils have increased to the extent that they should be able to make meaningful impact in the lives of rural dwellers.
In Europe and America, the group said, local councils were managed by the best in the society who have had a long range of experiences with a blood bound relationship with communities, sharing their fears and aspirations with the political actors.
“If Nigeria can get local government elections right, dealing with challenges in national elections will be easier’’, the group said.