By Tina Jowah
Election observer group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the conduct of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
The group in its preliminary report of the election said despite initial fears of concern, following the initial postponement of the election, INEC performed credibly well.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, acting executive director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi though noted some challenges with the conduct of the election in some states of the federation, she however said the frameworks and mechanisms put in place by the Commission ensured the polls were credible.
Specifically, she said simultaneous accreditation and voting introduced by the electoral body in no small measure contributed to the relative success of the elections.
She also noted for commendation the quick response of the INEC Chairman ordering the arrest of erring officials who connived with politicians to sabotage the electoral process.
She said, “We also note with concern, few cases of INEC officials conniving with politicians to sabotage the electoral process. For example in parts of Imo state, INEC officials connived with politicians to withhold electoral materials thereby preventing the elections from holding. We commend the quick response of the INEC Chairman in arresting the situation and ordering the arrest of the erring officials.”
Nwadishi also commended Nigerians for braving the odds in spite of the difficulties to come out peacefully, in high numbers to perform their civic duties.
She said however, that reports from Observers deployed by CTA across the country indicate that the elections was still marred by challenges ranging from late arrival of materials and personnel, malfunctioning card readers, shortage of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, pockets of violence in some states resulting in killings and disruption of voting, missing names of registered voters from the electoral register, poor management of RACS on the polling day.
She said, “however, despite these challenges, Observers noted the determination and enthusiasm of voters to participate and exercise their franchise.”
She noted that in most cases of card readers malfunctioning, INEC was able to respond in a timely manner to either fix the problem or replace such malfunctioning card readers.
She said, “While INEC generally displayed dedication, we observed that some of them were still grappling with a basic understanding of their roles as well as the capacity to operate the card readers.
“There were widespread reports of late arrival of materials and personnel across the country even though the RACs were activated a night before. From our observation, this was due to lack of poor deployment of materials and personnel to various places.
The CTA boss also noted with concern, the reported killings in parts of the country, while urging security agencies to ensure culprits are brought to book
She said, “we noted that in certain cases, voters with PVCs could not find their names on the voters register and ended up being disenfranchised.”
She also expressed concern with what she described as the unrelenting desperation of the political class and political parties in undermining the electoral process.
She said “the penchance for the use of political thugs, vote buying, the predilection for compromising the security agencies have all combined to pose serious threats to the political process by the political class/political parties.”