The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room has called for speedy setting up of the proposed Electoral Offences Commission to address issues related to electoral abuse as reported in the Kogi governorship election.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that governorship election was held across the state while a senatorial rerun was held in Kogi West.
Clement Nwankwo, Convener, Situation Room, a Coalition of over 70 Civil Society Organisations while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the group’s observations in the Kogi election said the level of violence was unacceptable.
“The level of violence witnessed in the two state elections are unprecedented, alarming and raise questions about the credibility of the election.
“Nigerians had expected that lessons learnt from the 2019 general elections by stakeholders especially political parties, the police and other security agencies would have been taken to improve upon the conduct of the Bayelsa and Kogi election.
“Unfortunately, this was not the case and both election have proved to be a disappointment and represent major setback for Nigeria’s democracy,’’ he said.
Nwankwo said that if the election was allowed to stand, 2023 and Ondo governorship election in 2020 would be bloodbath adding that Situation Room was disappointed with the procedure because it fell below the standards expected of a free, fair and credible election.
He said that the election day turnout was marred by violence and activities of political parties and security agents leading to disruptions of poll in several areas.
He said that there were cases of ballot snatching, violence as the commercialisation of Nigeria’s elections appeared to have reached unprecedented height.
“Political parties and their agents operated openly and with impunity distributing money in purchase of votes and it appeared that there were no efforts to stop them. Sums paid at the polling units ranged from N500 to N6,000,’’ he said.
He also alleged that there were open exploitation of Persons with Disabilities by politicians who cashed-in on the level of their poverty to buy their votes adding that security agents did not do much to stall electoral malpractices.
Nwankwo Commended the Independent National Electoral Commission for improving on the use of the Smart Card Readers as it was deployed and utilised in both states.
The CSOs called on INEC to cancel the Kogi election due to violence perpetuated by political parties.
They also urged INEC to interrogate the election in Bayelsa with a view to investigating high level of malpractice that took place to determine whether the outcome reflected genuine votes of the people.