Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre (PAACA), a Civil Society Organisation has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to investigate reports of alleged violations of the electoral guidelines during the supplementary elections.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director, PAACA in statement on the conduct of the election, also urged INEC to ensure any staff member accused of complicity and conspiracy with political actors to subvert the process are sanctioned.
Nwagwu said that PAACA in collaboration with other accredited observer groups trained and deployed over 122 stationary, independent non-partisan observers across the polling units in Sokoto South Senatorial District, and over 20 roving observers in the other senatorial districts.
He said that these deployments allowed PAACA to provide independent and objective assessments of the conduct of the elections.
He said the observer groups note an improvement in the management of election logistics and election administration for the Sokoto State supplementary election.
He said that what remained a challenge however is the inconsistencies in the application of electoral guidelines as PAACA and partners note voting was done in the open, and the voting cubicle was not installed in some polling units.
“PAACA calls upon all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain peace in the post-election period.
“ We condemn reports of political party agents subverting the electoral process and attempting to influence voters or INEC officials.
“ Party leaders must ensure that they encourage and model credible engagement in the process and urge their supporters to act in accordance with the electoral guidelines and the law.
‘’Nwagwu called on the security agents to also investigate and prosecute all security personnel involved in gross misconduct and to arrest and process all those that are involved in electoral fraud.’’
He said while the group commended the deployment of security personnel, they were however disturbed about the reports of the ineffectiveness of some security personnel to discharge their duties.
He said that this was especially in locations where vote trading became the order of the day, as vote buying was seen to be done in the open with no attempts by the security operatives to apprehend the perpetrators.
He said that the secrecy of the ballots was not upheld in all the polling units observed, as PAACA observers reported that voting cubicles were either not installed or not set up in 25 polling units.
Nwagwu said this therefore, made it impossible for voters to mark their ballots in secret.
He said that voters were intimidated and harassed during voting in 28 of the polling units observed.
He said that in 24 polling units observed, women either as voters, polling officials, observers or security agents were intimidated and harassed.
Nwagwu called on the winners of the election to be magnanimous in victory and be responsive representatives of the people regardless of whether they voted for them or not.
According to him, as stakeholders continue to reflect on the overall conduct of the 2023 general elections, the commission needed to audit its performance in the administration of the election.
He said this should be in a manner that would inspire public confidence and encourage participation in future elections.
NAN reports that supplementary governorship elections were held in Kebbi and Adamawa states where they have earlier been declared inconclusive.
In Adamawa, the elections were held in a total of 69 polling units (PUs) and 142 PUs in Kebbi with 36,935 and 94,209 eligible voters, respectively participating.
For the States House of Assembly positions, elections were held for 57 constituencies in 17 states. They are: Akwa Ibom (1), Bayelsa (1), Ebonyi (5), Edo (3), Ekiti (1), Imo (1), Kaduna (5), Kano (14), Kebbi (8), Niger (4), Ogun (1), Taraba (1), Yobe (1), Jigawa (3), Katsina (3), Enugu (1) and Adamawa (4).
NAN reports that the Senatorial elections were held in the North-western states of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara.
NAN also reports that supplementary elections for the House of Representatives were held for 31 constituencies in 15 states.
They are; Akwa Ibom (2), Anambra (1), Bayelsa (1), Edo (1), Imo (1), Kano (2), Kebbi (2), Kogi (1), Oyo (2), Rivers (2), Sokoto (11), Taraba (1) , Zamfara (2), Jigawa (1) and Ebonyi state (1).
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