2023 Presidential Election: Presure mounts for cancellation, as Obasanjo, international observers, others slams INEC for lack of transparency and poor conduct of poll

Our reporter| The Independent National Electoral Commission, {INEC] on Monday came under pressure from former president Olusegun Obasanjo, International observers, the Labour party, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, {PDP}, and many Nigerians for the poor conduct of Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the presidential election, asked that results from polling units where the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was not used should be nullified.

Obasanjo also requested that results that were not uploaded on the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should not be accepted.

“Whereas, BVAS and Servers have been manipulated or rendered inactive, such results must be declared void and inadmissible for election declaration,” Obasanjo told Buhari and the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu.

The elder statesman alerted Buhari that tension is building up across the nation asking that elections that were not credible be rejected and be re-conducted on Saturday.

”Your Excellency, let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday, March 4, 2023, and BVAS and Server officials be changed.”

The former President said a committee of INEC staff be set up with representatives of the four major political parties so as to know which stations or polling units were manipulated.

Obasanjo said the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association should also be in the committee, asking that members “look into what must be done to have hitch-free elections next Saturday.”

-NDI/IRI observers slam INEC for lack of transparency, says elections below expectations

Meanwhile, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) Joint Election Observation Mission (IEOM) on Monday released their preliminary statement on the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria.


-The International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) Joint Election Observation Mission (IEOM)

The leader, Dr. Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, in a statement, congratulated the people for “their resilience and enthusiasm”.

“Despite large crowds in some polling stations and long waits, Nigerian voters demonstrated commitment to participate in the process and a strong desire to have their voices heard,” Banda said.

The mission noted that despite the reforms to the Electoral Act 2022, “the election fell well short of Nigerian citizens’ reasonable expectations”, while the electoral commission lacked transparency.

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Banda said logistical challenges and multiple incidents of political violence overshadowed the electoral process and impeded a substantial number of voters from participating.

NDI/IRI confirmed currency and fuel shortages imposed excessive burdens on voters and election officials while marginalized groups, especially women, continue to face barriers to seeking and obtaining political office.

The delegation observed that the late opening of polling locations and logistical failures created tensions and the secrecy of the ballot was compromised in some polling units given overcrowding.

Banda said after the polls, challenges with the electronic transfer of results and their upload to a public portal in a timely manner, undermined citizen confidence at a crucial moment of the process.

“Inadequate communication and lack of transparency by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about their cause and extent created confusion and eroded voters’ trust in the process.

“The combined effect of these problems disenfranchised Nigerian voters in many areas, although the scope and scale is currently unknown,” the ex-President added.

The statement, however, commended INEC for conducting the general elections according to the electoral calendar “for the first time in the country’s recent history”.

Election marred by logistics challenges, BVAS failure – ECOWAS group

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says the delay in providing logistics and failure of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) affected the efficiency of the election process in Nigeria.

Ernest Koroma, head of the ECOWAS electoral observation mission to Nigeria, in a statement on Monday, also cited attacks recorded in some areas.


Koroma, also the former president of the Republic of Sierra Leone, said other challenges such as violence and snatching of BVAS devices and ballot boxes caused the postponement of the elections in some states.

“After careful analysis of the information received from the observers deployed in the field, the Mission notes the following: The late start of voting beyond the 08:30am opening time due to the late arrival of polling officials and voting materials and, in some cases, the delivery of wrong materials, at polling stations across the country,” the statement reads.

“There were postponements of elections in some polling units in Lagos, Imo, Bayelsa, Rivers and Edo states, due to electoral violence or logistics challenges, the unavailability of sufficient quantities of electoral materials in many polling stations across the country.

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“The visible presence of security agents discharging their duties in accordance with the provisions of the law in some polling units, however, they were inadequate. Most polling officials and ad-hoc staff demonstrated inadequate knowledge of their duties, especially with the voting materials.”

Concern was also raised about the low turnout of voters in some areas.

“The set-up of most of the polling units visited did not adequately protect the secrecy of the voting process, presence of international Observers from the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth, the British High Commission, NDI/IRI and other local observer missions in some polling stations,” he added.

“There were cases of BVAS failure to accredit voters due mainly to technical issues relating to login details, configuration or internet connectivity.

“The processes on E-Day unfolded in a generally peaceful environment. However, incidents of violence, killings and disruption were recorded in several States. The Mission deplores the unfortunate incidents that occurred in the lead-up to E-Day, leading to loss of life in some parts of the country.

“These include the murder of the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Enugu East senatorial district, alongside five of his supporters; and three persons who lost their lives in Kano in clashes between supporters of two rival political parties, APC and NNPP.

“On E-Day, an attack perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgents in Gwoza local government area of Borno state resulted in five persons injured. Similarly, there were reported attacks by bandits in Alawa, Shiroro local government area of Niger State.

“Violent incidents were likewise recorded in the Matoluku area of Oshodi in Lagos state, where masked men, armed with pump action rifles disrupted voting and burnt ballot papers and boxes.

“There were also reported cases of ballot snatching and BVAS theft in some states, including Delta, Katsina and Anambra.

“Specifically, an incident was recorded in Oshimili local government area of Delta state, where thugs attacked a polling unit and, in the process, fled with two BVAS machines. Similarly, In Safana LGA, Katsina state, thugs attacked a voting centre and snatched six BVAS machines.”

He urged INEC to improve communication on developments about the electoral process to avoid misinformation.

ECOWAS deployed a technical team of 250 short-term observers to six geopolitical areas to monitor the elections in Nigeria.


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