By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Nigeria’s frontline election observer, Yiaga Africa said the Saturday’s elections in Kogi and Imo states reaffirm the lack of commitment to democratic principles and credible elections on the part of electoral stakeholders.

Speaking on Monday at a press briefing in Abuja, the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo said the zero-sum attitude to electoral politics undermines electoral integrity and citizens’ right to elect leaders.

“Yiaga Africa reiterates its earlier call that election administration requires fundamental reforms to inspire public confidence and enhance the legitimacy of election processes and outcomes. This includes fundamentally reforming the election management body, INEC, and the attitude of politicians to elections. Cases where electoral officials arrive at the polling units with pre-filled election results is unacceptable, and highly condemnable.
“Yiaga Africa would like to thank voters who went to the polls despite the myriad of challenges and commend the people of Imo and Kogi states for maintaining peace through the process of collation and announcement of results. We would also like to thank Nigerians across the two states who volunteered to serve as WTV non-partisan election observers on behalf of all the people of Imo and Kogi states. “Yiaga Africa commends the dedication and commitment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who served as ad hoc polling officials. Yiaga Africa also appreciates the collaboration of our development partners and their commitment to Nigerian initiatives to ensure credible elections in our country.”

He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to thoroughly investigate all the allegations of malpractices, and misapplication of election laws and guidelines and remediate all the flaws including prosecuting its staff for complicity.

He further urged INEC to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Imo governorship election results and make its findings public.
“Increasingly, more voters are tactically disenfranchised for conduct that is not within their control. INEC should review its policy to ensure that eligible voters across all polling units are given an equal opportunity to vote. This includes policy reviews that ensure that voters in polling units where elections are suspended or cancelled for electoral malpractice issues or logistical challenges are given an opportunity to vote.
“The National Assembly should accelerate the process of electoral reform, especially the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission to promptly and diligently prosecute electoral offenders.”


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