An International Election Observer group, Pan African Women, PAN, projects that monitored the general elections in Nigeria has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the amended Electoral Act.
The call came on a day protesters, under the aegis of Save Nigeria Democracy Group, SNDG, yesterday stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, declaring that the results from the just-concluded elections ‘did not reflect the true voting direction of Nigerians’ and queried the high incidences of non-conclusion of the processes.
Publicity Secretary of PAN project 2019, Ms Mphoentle Keitseng, who monitored the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom made the appeal during an interactive session with newsmen in Uyo yesterday.
According to her, the electoral bill will help to facilitate and regulate proper conduct of subsequent elections in the country.
She noted with dismay that the just concluded governorship and house of assembly elections were marred with irregularities such as vote buying, ballot box snatching, intimidation, thuggery and disruption of voting process.
Keitseng harped on the need to review the Electoral Act in order to help strengthen the electoral process.
She called on federal government to create election tribunal in order to prosecute offenders of the electoral processes.
Keitseng decried heavy presence of military personnel in polling units which she observed was scaring voters.
She advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to improve on arrival of materials and election kick off at the gubernatorial and state of assembly elections.
“We commend the transparent and credibility exhibited by INEC in Akwa Ibom in conducting free, fair Presidential/National Assembly and Gubernatorial/State House of Assembly elections,” said.
Keitseng also advised INEC to recruit ad-hoc staff that were above 30 years of age for sensitive positions as polling officers because as many polling officials who were young lacked the maturity to take decisions on time, especially where violence erupted.
Meanwhile, protesters under the aegis of Save Nigeria Democracy Group, SNDG, Wednesday stormed INEC in protest, declaring that the results from the just concluded elections ‘did not reflect the true voting direction of Nigerians’ and queried the high incidences of non-conclusion of the processes.
The protesters bore placards with inscriptions such as “The People’s mandate cannot be stolen,” “Atiku will not congratulate Buhari,” “Prof.Yakubu must resign,” “Inconclusive election is a shame,” ” Atiku will get justice,” among many others.
Speaking in the presence of some INEC staff who came out to receive the protesters, leader of the group, Comrade Tijani Abdulmumuni, said INEC’s refusal to conclude the collation of results from select states gave credence to the concern that the Presidency was in cahoots with INEC, some state governors and the APC to drag the country into chaos which must be rejected at all cost.
He said: “This latest show of desperation has further strengthened earlier concerns of widespread voter suppression, targetted violence, militarization of the political space and systematic inflation of figures that punctuated the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“It also heightens the fear of the dire consequences of the federal government muscling INEC and the nation’s security into turning blind eyes to obvious infractions and violations of the Federal Constitutional provisions and Electoral Law and the Regulations/Guidelines regulating the 2019 general elections and went ahead to uphold and announce a tailored result that only servie the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
“We wish to place on record that the monumental electoral fraud, manipulation which have very negative implications on the credibility, transparency and integrity of the entire elections constitute a latent threat to our democratic development.
“Against all known rules of decency and fairness, the deliberate violations which include widespread non-usage or selective enforcement of the use of Smart Card Reader (SCR) machines are also an indictment in the sight of the international community.
“In specifics, the International and local observers have regrettably noted that the usage of the SCR machines were enforced strategically in the South-South, South-East and the North-Central zones of the country which are essentially opposition strongholds but was radically slackened in the North-West, North-East and the South-West which were estimated as the APC strongholds.
“Other infractions observed nationwide included the deliberate non-deployment of result form EC 8 to polling centres, the barricade by armed military personnel to deny the agents of opposition political parties access to collation centres, the recording of falsified figures and violent attacks at opposition strongholds.”
Receiving the protesters on behalf of the commission, Kelechi Madumere, INEC’s Assistant Director of Security, commended the group for a peaceful exercise, assuring them that the commission would do everything possible not to betray the trust the of Nigerians.