- An observer group has released its preliminary report on the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections across Nigeria
- The group also commended INEC and security agencies over their professional conduct at the election
- According to the group, the reports filed in by their observers deployed all around Nigeria show that there was a high turnout of voters across the country
Some foreign observers have commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Nigerians for transparency and credibility of the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The team under the platform of Independent Foreign Observers at a press conference this Sunday, February 24, in Abuja said from the reports filed in by their observers deployed all around Nigeria, there was a high turnout of voters across the country.
Stating that such turnout was impressive, the team leader, Stuart Young, said both supporters of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) actively cast their ballots for their respective candidates.
In a preliminary report: "A Preliminary report on the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections in Nigeria", Young described the conduct of the elections as as fair.
He said the election is an indication of non-interference by the government or any of its agents.
According to the team, the conduct of the electoral officials appeared to be consistently fair and an indication of non-interference by the government or any of its agents.
Noting that some polling units experienced late arrival of voting materials, incidences of votes buying were dealt with by surveillance mounted by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies that consisted of the Army, police, and the civil defence.
"The various security agencies were professional in handling incidences of ballot box snatching and other forms of electoral malpractices. Worthy of mention is the professionalism displayed by the Nigerian Army," Young said.
"The security agencies were on top of the situation in areas that were hitherto known for election-related violence and the other regions as a whole.
"Observers watched votes being counted at polling stations, noting that the announcement of the vote from each ballot was announced clearly, and citizens were monitoring the process along with officials and party monitors," he added.
Making suggestions available for a better election process in Nigeria, Young said, the functionality of card readers must be fully tested and properly calibrated before deployment to the polling units before the elections to reduce the use of manual voting which takes time and might be exploited.
Young said: "Improvement is needed in the areas of logistics and training of electoral officials. For example a digital voting system, perhaps using mobile phones, tablets and/or voting cards embedded with codes that can be swiped to register a voter’s choice, should be explored.
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"A stronger effort to start voting on time would make the process more comfortable and healthy for voters, as well as improving voter turnout.
Continuing voter education beyond the election period should focus on efforts to identify and weed out Fake news in order not to mislead the public," he said.
The observers further congratulated the Nigerian government and Nigerian citizens for their enthusiasm, perseverance and fair play in pursuing their democratic ideals through this election.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had announced that the national collation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections would continue on Monday, February 25.
Mahmood noting that the collation process would be subject to interludes and adjournments said the proceeding will commence at 11 am.
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