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General News of Thursday, 16 March 2023


Governorship election: Don’t repeat your mistakes – CSO warns INEC

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

A transparency organisation, Connected Development (CODE) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure that the many challenges that marred the credibility of the Presidential election are handled ahead of Saturday’s Governorship election in parts of the country.

Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer of the group, gave the charge during a press briefing on Thursday.

Hamzat urged INEC to ensure a swift deployment, early opening of polls, professional conduct of security personnel, strict adherence to the use of BVAS for biometric accreditation, and electronic transmission of results from polling unit as stipulated by the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC 2023 Election guidelines for the conduct of the elections.

The group, while decrying the low turnout of voters during Presidential and National elections, stressed that with the deployment of its Uzabe technology for election observation, it recorded many cases of widespread irregularities.

”At 27%, Nigeria recorded its lowest voter turnout despite recording 87.2m PVCs collected. From our reports, there were many cases of technical disenfranchisement where materials were not deployed to many Polling units across the country, and in many other cases, INEC officials arrived late to polling stations while in some cases, the BVAS machine failed, with no replacement provided, and for these reasons, thousands or perhaps millions of Nigerians were not able to cast their ballot.”

It said the governorship election is another opportunity for INEC to redeem its image and ensure that its technology is functional and the electoral umpire adheres to its guidelines on BVAS usage.

Hamzat identified the currency issues, fuel scarcity, and insecurity as factors which played a role in disrupting preparation for the presidential and NASS elections.

The group observed that voter access was compromised in many polling units, leading to unnecessary delays and poor election conduct.

It, therefore, urged young Nigerians to come out to vote and participate in the elections.

The group called on INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood to step up and ensure a seamless gubernatorial and state assembly election as the general outcome of the 2023 elections will determine citizens’ engagement and participation in democratic processes in the future.