There's indication of democratic recession from supplementary elections - Observer group

There's indication of democratic recession from supplementary elections - Observer group

- YIAGA has sighted an indication of democratic recession during the just concluded supplementary elections in some states

- A recent report by YIAGA shows the Smart Card Reader was used throughout the elections for the accreditation of voters

- The report also said only voters whose names appeared on the voters' register were allowed accreditation and voting during the supplementary election process

An observer group for the 2019 general elections across Nigeria sighted an indication of democratic recession during the just concluded supplementary elections in some states.

YIAGA Africa said at its Watching the Vote Conference said the organisation deployed 264 observers to 311 polling units in the 98 local government areas and 95 observers to 95 LGA results collation centres in the five states for the supplementary election.

According to YIAGA, an updated report of the findings received from observers in the field reveal that the Smart Card Reader was used throughout, for the accreditation of voters in 98% of 31 Polling Units (PUs) in Bauchi, 91% of 70 PUs in Benue, 95% of 39 PUs in Plateau, 94% of 79 PUs in Kano and 98% of 44 PUs in Sokoto state.

The organisation said it observed that only voters whose names appeared on the voters' register were allowed accreditation and voting.

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The report also said that although some party agents tried to influence voters with all kinds of gifts, the polling units were flooded officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It also observed that INEC polling officials were intimidated, harassed or assaulted in 20% of 30 PUs in Bauchi, 10% of 70 PUs in Benue, 8% of 39 PUs in Plateau, 23% of 79 PUs in Kano and 4% of 45 PUs in Sokoto state, during accreditation and voting.

On accessibility to collations, YIAGA observed that observers, media and party agents were generally granted access to the local government results collation centres to observe the process but were denied access to the result collation centres in Gboko, Otukpo and Okpokwu LGAs in Benue by the Police.

In Gaya LGA, Kano state, political thugs prevented the party agents of the opposition party from accessing the collation centre.

The organisation also observed that while collation officers announced and posted the results in 52 LGAs in the five states, the result was not posted in Alkaleri, Gamawa and Jama’are LGAs in Bauchi state; Agatu, Buruku, Kwande, Makurdi, Obi and Ushongo LGAs in Benue state, Garun Malam LGA in Kano state, Bokkos and Mangu LGAs in Plateau state and Binji, Goronyo, Silame and Tambuwal LGAs in Sokoto state.

Also, in Bodinga LGA in Sokoto state, only results for APC and PDP were announced and the results for Kebbe LGA in Sokoto state were not announced at the LGA collation centre.

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YAIGA observed the non-compliance with electoral guidelines, intimidation of voters and observers, violence and voter suppression impedes on the integrity of the election in some states.

It also questioned the credibility of some results announced by INEC in polling units and LGA collation centres where observers and voters were chased away by political thugs and police officers.

"This was prevalent in Kano state in places like PUs 008 and 010, Kwarkiya Ward of Minjibir LGA, PU 008, Kanawa ward; Cikin Gari ward 05, in Sumaila LGA; and PU 07, Batayya ward 02, Albasu LGA; Zango PU 021, Karaye ward 03, Karaye LGA in Kano state," YIAGA said.

"In addition is the result from Polling unit 003 Alkala, gaya Arewa ward in Gaya LGA where voting was not concluded at the polling unit however results were announced at the collation centre.

"The regulations and guidelines for the election is silent on the appropriate action to be taken where cancelled votes in a supplementary is higher than the margin of lead.

"YIAGA AFRICA calls on INEC to communicate to clear the air on this issue with reference to legal stipulations or judicial precedent," the organisation said.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported the INEC has fixed Thursday, March 28, for the supplementary governorship election in Adamawa state.

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Legit.ng earlier reported that a high court sitting in Yola, the capital of Adamawa, on Tuesday, March 26, vacated an order preventing the governorship supplementary election from taking place in the state.

The decision of the court followed the inability of the electoral commission to conduct the supplementary election in 44 polling units in the state.

As a result of the suit, the supplementary governorship election did not hold in Adamawa on Saturday, March 23, when the exercise took place in other affected states of the federation.

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