The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has expressed shock at the conduct of the just concluded April 15 supplementary elections in some states that participated and called for urgent reform of electoral process in the country.
Situation Room was reacting to the illegal declaration of a winner by a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Adamawa State, Yunusa Hudu Ari, while collation of results was yet to be concluded.
A statement signed by the convener of the group, Ms Ene Obi, stated that “Section 25(2)(f) and Section 66 of the Electoral Act 2022 empowers only the Returning Officer for a Governorship election to announce the result and declare the winner following conclusion of the collation process at State Collation Centre”.
“Situation Room welcomes the action taken by the headquarters of INEC to declare as unlawful the action of the REC in Adamawa State and suspend him from further duties”.
Also, the statement noted that the supplementary elections of Saturday, April 15th 2023, does not represent an improvement on the two earlier elections that INEC conducted.
According to the statement, there were still reports of disruption of voting in some States like Anambra, Sokoto, Imo, and Kano State.
“The sponsorship of obvious manipulations are electoral crimes that must be prosecuted if this trend is to be reversed”.
“Failure to prosecute the sponsors and beneficiaries of electoral crimes will allow an environment of impunity to continue and escalate”, it read.
Situation Room therefore called for a reform of the electoral system; Part of which must include accountability on the part of election officials and stakeholders”.
Writing by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu