2023 Election Headline News Nigeria

CSOs raise concerns over late arrival of electoral materials

Commonwealth election observers and the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (NCSSR) have queried the late arrival of electoral officials and materials at many polling units across the country.

At the Situation Room mid-day election briefing in Abuja, the head of the Commonwealth observer mission to Nigeria and former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, who also observed the election in some polling units, confirmed the situation.

“The point I am making is that the officials arrived late in some of the PU,” Mr Mbeki noted.

“And before they could start with the voting, it took about one hour, as against the slates 8:30 agreed for commencement of the election,” he said.

He continued: “At a second PU unit observed, INEC officials complained of inks drying as early as elections began. Imagine what can happen later. Our committee, however, believes that the electoral commission should be able to address the problem.”

A statement jointly signed by the co-conveners, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Ene Obi, Asma’u Joda and James Ugochukwu, affirmed that despite the challenges observed, they were glad that INEC and other stakeholders ensured that the elections were not postponed as had been the case in recent general elections.

The Situation Room also raised the issue of late deployment of election materials across the country, citing reports from their network of observers as indicating that less than 30% of polling units started on time.

They said “states where polls opened around 8.30am include Bauchi, Borno, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe and Jigawa”.

However, in Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Rivers, Kaduna and FCT, there have been significant delays in commencement of polls, with many PUs yet to open as at 11.30am.

“In most states, deployment of election officials and materials to the RACs commenced early hours of this morning, making it extremely difficult for the election to commence on time,” they said.

” In some states, many ad hoc staff could not find their names on the staff list, even after participating in the training exercise, causing further delays. There were reports of deployment of election materials to the wrong PUs in parts of North-West and North-East states.”

YIAGA data rates INEC low

R – L Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu board member YIAGA AFRICA, followed by Prof Asmau Maikud board member, Samson Itodo Executive Director and Cynthia Mbamalu programme director of YIAGA. Photo Credit: Julian Osamoto/ Radio Nigeria

Meanwhile, data released by Yiaga Africa in its mid-day report reveals 40 critical incidents as gathered from its trained and accredited observers across the federation.

This was disclosed by Yiaga Africa’s ‘Watching the Vote’ (WTV) chairman, Dr Hussaini Abdu, at a media briefing in Abuja on Saturday.

He explained that WTV observers recorded critical incidents in Ngor-Okpala LGA of Imo state, where few Ad-hoc staff were seen due to poor remuneration and fear of attacks as most of the officials were corps members.

Similarly, data from Lagos state, according to Yiaga Africa WTV observer, says “at Gbagada Phase II/ Bariga/Apelehin/Ogundero Street/Onasanwo Street, Junction I, the BVAS failed to authenticate either the facial- or finger-print of voters, which resulted in the process being temporarily suspended”.

Following this development, Yiaga Africa urged INEC to investigate the reasons for the late deployment of election materials across polling units.

YIAGA also called on INEC to extend voting time, to ensure that eligible voters are not disenfranchised.

Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare and Tony Okerafor