With the first round of elections (presidential and National Assembly) concluded and the winners announced, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shifted its attention to the upcoming gubernatorial and Senatorial elections across the country.
According to the INEC, the high number of rejected votes across the country signaled a dangerous trend that needed to be tackled in partnership with the political parties in the upcoming April 11 elections.
The commission’s worry was based on the high number of voided votes that were recorded in last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections together with a total of 10,118 voided votes gathered during the last year’s governorship election in Ekiti state.
Speaking with newsmen in Ekiti on Tuesday, the INEC’s public relations officer in Ekiti state, Taiwo Gbadegesin, lamented that the INEC had expected that there would be an improvement in the 2015 general election.
He told journalists that the number of votes that were invalid across the country, especially in the state, was a matter of concern.
Gbedegesin said the INEC is ready to offer Nigerians credible and acceptable elections during the April 11 governorship election, saying every arrangement has been put in place for the smooth conduct of the poll.
“Virtually all state offices, including Ekiti are done with presidential/National Assembly polls since reports of the outcome of the last exercise had already been submitted to Abuja, and have, unknown to many Nigerians, shifted attention to intense preparations for the last lap of the exercise on April 11,” he said.
He expressed regrets that rather than improve, the situation was aggravated in Saturday’s poll as several thousands of votes were again cast wrongly by the electorate, despite weeks of mobilisation and sensitisation of voters by the INEC, NOA and other agencies of government stating that there was no basis for anyone to queue in the rain or scorching sun for several hours for accreditation and voting, only for such an anxious voter not to have his vote counted at the end of the day as a result of an error in thumb-printing.
Gbadegesin called on all political parties and their candidates to compliment the effort of INEC by providing needed and timely voter’s education for the supporters in order to reduce the growing incidences of voided votes.
Meanwhile, following her husband's victory yesterday, Nigeria’s new First Lady Aisha Buhari took to her newly created official Twitter handle, to congratulate the president elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, on winning the presidential elections.