You Failed To Meet Nigerians’ Expectations On 2023 Polls – EU Observers Slam INEC
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations regarding the conduct of Saturday’s elections for governor and state assembly.
Barry Andrews, the mission’s chief observer, said in a statement released in Abuja on Monday that the results of the elections in a number of states demonstrate that the electoral body failed to fulfil its responsibilities.
According to him, the voter apathy observed on Saturday is evidence that the conduct of the February 25 presidential election by INEC dissatisfied Nigerians who had a strong desire for democracy and change.
Andrews stated that the governorship and state assembly elections were also disrupted by multiple incidents of thuggery, voter intimidation, and other electoral offences, and that organised violence in certain regions of the country contributed to a climate of fear.
“Throughout the mission, we observed that Nigerians have a voracious appetite for democracy and are eager to participate in a variety of civic activities,” he said.
“However, in numerous regions of the nation, their expectations were not met. Many were dissatisfied, and we witnessed voter apathy as a result, in part, of the failures of political elites and, regrettably, INEC.
“Positively, INEC introduced some corrective measures prior to Saturday’s elections, allowing for timely delivery of sensitive materials and improved use of election technologies, but the institution remained opaque.”
“EU EOM observers observed that voting on 18 March generally began on time, with INEC ad hoc officials present to serve voters. Multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists disrupted voting on election day.
Lagos, Kano, and other southern and central states were the hardest hit. There were a great number of casualties and fatalities. In addition to being directly observed by EU EOM observers, vote-buying hampered the proper conduct of elections.”
Andrews stated that the mission found the underrepresentation of women in the process to be contrary to Nigeria’s constitutional provision and international commitment to equality.
He added, “The clear underrepresentation of women as candidates demonstrated a glaring absence of internal party policies to support constitutionally mandated inclusion, which is also contrary to Nigeria’s international commitments to eliminate discrimination against women.”
“The mission also lauded civil society, the media, and fact-checkers for promoting democratic standards by increasing voter awareness and disseminating electoral information of public interest.”
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