Sunday, March 24, 2019 10:04 pm
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put an end to supplementary elections in Nigeria.
Mr Clement Nwankwo, Convener of the coalition of 70 civil society groups, made the call on Sunday in Abuja at a news conference on the observation of the elections.
Nwankwo said the call to end supplementary elections became imperative because it appeared that the process was now a manipulation tool to circumvent the will of the electorate.
He said that the group deployed observers for the supplementary governorship elections in Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states and noticed some ills.
He said that some flaws observed were recurrent in Nigeria’s elections and as a country they ought to be condemned, especially the voters intimidation and insecurity that resulted in shooting of a returning officer in Benue.
“The widespread incidents of violence, thuggery and abuse of the electoral process, especially as reported in Gama ward of Kano must be addressed by INEC.
“Situation Room believes that the level of abuse recorded in Gama ward is of such monumental proportions as to necessitate INEC expunging the outcome of the supposed voting results from the final collation.
“Safety of election day workers, INEC and ad hoc staff, observers is not guaranteed and portends great danger for future elections in Nigeria.
“Actions of political parties and their supporters continue to undermine the confidence in our electoral process as well as the rights of citizens to participate fully in election and cast their votes without fear.”
Nwankwo said that incidences of violence was recorded in some local government areas in Bauchi, Kano and Benue where thugs threw stones at voters.
He said that some reports received showed instances of over-deployment of security personnel such as in Plateau.
He said that the group was puzzled by the situation in Kano where the deployment of senior police officers could not stem the incidents of political thuggery and intimidation.
Nwankwo said that reports showed that instances where security personnel, most especially the police and civil defence, with challenging situations were met with inaction.
He said that Situation Room was concerned that abuses of electoral process occurred in spite of the deployment of top-level police officials, including a Deputy Inspector-General and three assistant inspector general and commissioners.
Nwankwo said that in the previous elections, a state commissioner of police took charge and there was less violence so it was ironic to see this quantum of violence in spite of heavy deployment.
He said that there were reports of widespread vote buying in Kano and Bauchi states and underaged voting was also recorded in Plateau and Sokoto states.
He said that observers were denied access to the collation centre contrary to INEC regulations and guidelines.
Nwankwo said that Situation Room would continue to reiterate that elections could be conducted devoid of violence.