Feb. 25 Elections: Investigate Various Infractions, Prosecute Violators, Group tells INEC

By Starrys Obazei | March 7, 2023

The Chen Education and Development Empowerment, CEDE, group has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to investigate various infractions recorded during the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25 and prosecute violators.

The group said its call follows the verifiable reports of irregularities and violence during voting in many states during the presidential election.

Stating that democracy remains the most viable option for Nigeria, the Executive Director of the group, Cynthia Anaele at a press conference warned that the democratic process must not only be transparent but be seen to be so.

Anaele tasked INEC to do more to redeem its image by ensuring that the upcoming Governorship and States Assembly elections are free, fair and credible.

She noted that Nigerian youths had trooped out in their numbers to participate in the election following promises by INEC that election results will be uploaded on its server in real time from polling units but expressed worry that INEC did not obey its own rules.

‘‘INEC had assured Nigerians that it was prepared to conduct a free, fair and credible election that all will be proud of, young Nigerians trusted INEC to respect and comply with its own rules, however, what Nigerians saw on the day of the elections contradicted INEC’s assurances.

‘‘In many places, materials or election officials arrived late to the polling units or did not arrive at all and other varied blunders by the electoral body.

‘‘In most places, INEC ad-hoc staff did not have complete materials such as ink or ballot papers while in some other polling units, there was only one BVAS which was a challenge considering the high number of registered voters in those units.

‘‘There were incidents of violence and voter suppression in many states, there were also reports of assaults on INEC staff, election materials as well as security flaws. And more significantly, INEC was unable to quickly update the iRev Portal for citizens to monitor poll results, despite all its assurances’’, she emphasized.

The group worried that despite all the anomalies, the electoral body went ahead to announce a winner, claiming he satisfied all criteria.

It, however, advised INEC to quickly fix the challenge with the BVAS and its iRev portal, noting that the integrity of any electoral system is critical to the legitimacy of any government emanating from it.

CEDE appealed to politicians to desist from utterances and actions that would further fuel tension across the country, ahead of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections.

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