Observer group calls on INEC to conduct elections in cancelled polling units

The Equity International Initiative (EII) on Thursday said the presidential and National Assembly elections conducted last weekend were not “free, fair and credible”.

The group called on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct election in all the cancelled local governments, wards and polling units across the country.

It equally called for immediate “sanctions and prosecution” of officials of INEC who were in one way or the other involved in compromising the conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections.

The EII through its Coordinator, Chris Iyama, while addressing journalists in Jos, the Plateau State Capital, said, the organization was able to monitor the recently conducted polls through its over eleven thousand observers spread across the country.

Iyama, who is also the Executive Director of Centre for Youth Participation, Dialogue and Advocacy (CYPA), said “Equity Election Situation Room observed lots of Irregularities and widespread Violence during the election and is disappointed with the conduct of the 2019 presidential and national assembly election despite the postponement of the election to 23rd February 2019 on grounds of logistics.

“EII condemns the general conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections held on the 23rd of February 2019.”

According to the organization, “the elections were marred with irregularities, voter-intimidation by thugs and security agencies deployed to South-South, South-East, North-Central and South-West of Nigeria.

“EII condemns the role some INEC officials played in compromising the conduct of the presidential and national assembly election and as such declare unequivocally that the 23rd of February elections was not free, fair and credible.

“EII condemns the cancellation of votes in major polling unit across the country especially in North- Central (Plateau, Nassarawa and Benue States) and South-South which includes Rivers and Akwa-Ibom States and some parts of South-East.”

They also condemned the role played by INEC returning officers in “altering and rejecting” votes.

“We condemn in strongest terms the altering of the results from different States that was finally announced by INEC in Abuja,” he said.

According to the group, “Many of the reports changed from what they were at the polling units by the time INEC was making the announcements.

“EII calls for immediate sanctions and prosecution of all INEC officials involved in compromising the conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections.

The EII, however, recommended that there should be full adherence to INEC Election Guidelines.

“Alternative/Configuration Card Reader. The Card reader failed in so many Southern and North Central States and all the manual voting that was carried out was eventually cancelled thereby disenfranchising eligible Nigerian voters.

“Speedy resolution of logistical challenges, provision of adequate security and neutrality of security officials at all times.

“INEC should call for Election in all the cancelled local governments, wards and polling unit across the country”, he maintained.