2023: Politically Affiliated INEC RECs Cleared by Senate Blamed for Lapses During Presidential Polls
- Fresh observations have confirmed that the nomination and appointment of state INEC commissioners with political affiliations may have impacted the 2023 polls
- Civil society groups, in the build-up to the elections, raised concerns over the credibility and neutrality of commissioners
- Meanwhile, a foremost election observer group, Connected Development (CODE), confirmed that the 2023 polls were greeted with many irregularities
FCT, Abuja - Election observers of the just-concluded 2023 election say the decision of the Senate to clear Resident Electoral Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with political past must have impacted the credibility of the polls.
In the build-up to the presidential elections, recall that Legit.ng earlier reported that civil society groups raised concerns over the neutrality of the 19 INEC RECs that the Nigerian Senate cleared.
Speaking exclusively to Legit.ng on the impact of the INEC RECs on the election, the director of Democracy and Governance of Connected Development (CODE) Emmanuel Njoku revealed that there are limits to what civil societies can do as they have performed their obligations by torch-lighting the process of the appointing the RECs.
He said only the President, in collaboration with the Senate, have the prerogative to do and undo their appointments.
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"Like when we saw that some people President Buhari nominated for resident commissioners of INEC were partisan or have contested under a political party, we raised a lot of concerns.
"We had media briefings, we met with national assembly, we did everything. We even called INEC out at that point to speak out. But, however, the national assembly whose duty it was to do due diligence to ensure that the national electoral commissioners are apolitical went ahead and confirmed these nominations.
"And they are the most important people on the election day, the electoral commissioners are the chief executive officers in the states for INEC. The deployment of materials lies in their hands, everything apart from the iREV."
He blamed the electoral commissioners for the late deployment of election materials on election day.
Njoku added that the fact the anomalies transpired across the country made it even more problematic and suspicious.
He, however, urged INEC to give Nigerians an explanation on why the lateness in deployment occurred across the federation.
CODE confirms irregularities during presidential polls
Meanwhile, CODE released its interim post-election report in Abuja on Thursday, March 2.
During CODE’s press briefing attended by Legit.ng, it was confirmed that its election observation platform confirmed inconsistencies during the electoral process of the presidential and legislative elections.
The group's CEO, Hamzat Lawal, said:
“We observed that in many of such polling units, INEC staff and materials were not deployed to these areas, like in Imo state primary health care development agency, New Owerri 1, PU 0I8, and as such citizens again were disenfranchised”.
“The deployment of BVAS and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) were presented to Nigerians as game changers in this 2023 general election, and we observed that citizens found it difficult to log in to the IREV until late in the day of the election.
“The IREV failed to upload any result of the Presidential election as at 10 pm of election day, and even when the results started uploading, it was in trickles.”
He, however, called on Nigerians and opposition parties to maintain decorum and use statutory channels and means to vent their displeasure.
Similarly, he advised INEC to explain why it was unable to fulfil its promises in the conduct of the elections, adding that the commission owes Nigerians an explanation and must ensure it regains the trust of the people ahead of the governorship and state house of assembly elections.
2023 Presidency: Post-Election Report Reveals Inconsistencies in Rivers, Imo Election Results
Meanwhile, the aftermath of the 2023 presidential polls has been brought to the fore in Yiaga Africa's post-election report.
According to the report, inconsistencies were discovered at the polling units in two notable states.
Rivers and Imo state elections were flagged as the two states where irregularities were discovered.
2023: Another Presidential Candidate Rejects INEC’s Result, Reveals Next Step
Similarly, the 2023 presidential election that declared Bola Tinubu as the president-elect has been tagged an electoral fraud.
According to Omoyele Sowore, the presidential bannerman of the AAC, INEC failed to deliver its promise of a free and fair election.
He stated that the election's outcome was either concocted or manufactured fraudulently by the commission.