By Progress Godfrey, Abuja
The Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations has condemned the supplementary elections held on Saturday 15 March, in 23 States of the Federation.
The Civil Societies in a statement issued on Tuesday, signed by its convener Ms Ene Obi, said the elections failed to improve on the shortcomings of the 2023 Presidential and Governorship elections.
The coalition blamed the National Assembly for failing to scrutinize the nominees of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and National Commissioners as required by law.
According to the statement, the level of impunity being perpetrated by some partisan persons into INEC at all levels is unacceptable.
“Situation Room observed early commencement of polls in many locations, particularly in Kano and Kebbi States. However, there was late commencement of accreditation and voting in some polling units due to the late arrival of election officials,” the group noted.
“In Egor Local Government Area (LGA), Edo State, polls opened by 9:30 am, 10:30 am in Sokoto South LGA, Sokoto State, about 9:40 am in several polling units in Ogbaru LGA, Anambra State, and 11:48 am in Michika LGA, Adamawa State.”
The Situation Room also condemned the illegal declaration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress as winner by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Adamawa State, Barr. Yunusa Hudu Ari, while the collation of results was yet to be concluded.
The CSOs, therefore, commended INEC for suspension of the REC and for declaring his action unlawful.
The CSOs also expressed concern over the reported cases of “disruption of voting in some States with pockets of election violence.
The group also noted the prevalence of vote-buying in the election, with some political parties displaying their pattern of vote-buying with reckless abandon.
“Reports of voter intimidation and suppression were also received particularly from Uzebu Ward, Oredo LGA, Edo State where local thugs took over Uzebu 1. Owegie Primary School 1 polling unit and the few voters who showed up to vote were asked to display their ballot papers after thumb printing,” the coalition added.
The Situation Room therefore called for the implementation of the recommendations of the Electoral Reform Committee which, in 2010, recommended steps to appoint independent persons to INEC.