Observers have called for calm and transparency in Nigeria’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states.
In a statement released on Saturday, Emmanuel Njoku, Director Democracy and Governance and Head of Uzabe elections situation room at Connected Development (CODE), said that the overall atmosphere in all three states had been peaceful and calm. He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the early deployment of Adhoc staff and materials, and for observing priority voting for the elderly in various locations.
However, Njoku also identified some concerns, including:
- Observers being impeded from taking pictures by security personnel in Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi state.
- Delayed voting in Kanabiri comp Ward of Sagbama LGA in Bayelsa due to the absence of party agents, and late arrival of INEC officials at Yenogoa-Fankpo Square Ward.
- An incident in Ekeremor LGA (Azidekeoreyeine Square Ward), where an individual attempting to abscond with INEC materials was stopped by citizens.
- BVAS machine malfunctioning and displaying Chinese language at Eke-mbutu Market Square Ward of Mbaitoli LGA, Imo state.
- Low voter turnout in some parts of these states.
- Verified reports of vote buying in Bayelsa and Imo states.
Njoku called on all stakeholders to maintain their commitment to a peaceful electoral process, and urged security personnel to be at alert to ensure the continued security of the proceedings. He also implored INEC officials to carry out their duties with efficiency, and to ensure that polling unit results are electronically transmitted from the polling units to the INEC Result Viewing portal (IREV).
“At Connected Development (CODE), we stand resolute in our commitment to supporting a transparent, accountable, and fair electoral process,” Njoku said. “Your unwavering dedication to responsible journalism harmonizes perfectly with these shared objectives.”