…Want INEC To Publish List Of Polling Units Where Elections Didn’t Hold
Progress Godfrey, Abuja
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has expressed concern over the delay by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the transmission of presidential results for public view.
The Convener of the CSOs Situation Room, Ms Ene Obi, made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja on Sunday, on the interim findings of the CSOs – a coalition of over 70 organisations.
INEC had promised Nigerians prompt transmission of results. The coalition lamented that at 8 pm on February 25, no presidential results were uploaded on INEC Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
Ms Obi explained that in over 70 per cent of the polling units visited, voters experienced late commencement of elections due to late deployment of election materials.
According to her, in 14 per cent of the polling units visited, functionality issues of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, marred the experience of voters, while results for the Senate and House of Representatives elections went live at about 4:00 pm.
She stated: “In Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Rivers, and Kaduna states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), there were significant delays in commencement of polls with several polling units opening as late as 11.30 am. In 13 states, some polling units did not open as at the official closing of polls by 2.30 pm. Delays in opening of polls created a corresponding problem of late closing of polls in many places. Situation Room observers reported that less than 35 per cent of polling units visited closed by 2.30 pm. The late opening and closing of polls subjected the voters, many of whom arrived the polling units very early in the morning, to unpleasant voting.
“We also received reports of INEC polling officials’ inability to access the ReV portal to upload the Presidential results in particular. Situation Room had expected that there will be a quick upload of results to improve and make the collation process more transparent as this has always been the weakest link in the electoral process. Furthermore, Situation Room notes that most of the Senatorial results uploaded were not legible. There were also reports of Presiding Officers who either refused or were unable to upload results.”
The CSOs commended Nigerians for their resilience and determination to vote, urging them to remain patient and peaceful in their wait for INEC’s collation of results and declarations of winners. “Situation Room enjoins INEC to be consistent with the legal framework and guidelines for elections, to be transparent and credible in the collation of results. Situation Room also enjoins INEC to take stock of polling units where election did not take place and make them public,” added the convener, Ms Obi
She, however noted that reports from the Albino Foundation revealed that persons with disabilities, elderly persons and pregnant women in most of the polling units visited were given priority by INEC adhoc staff.
“Situation Room received reports and data from its partner organisation, the Albino Foundation (TAFAFRICA), showing that Braille Ballot Guides were available in only 26 out of the 273 polling units visited in addition, magnifying glasses were available in 60 out of the 273 polling units visited while Large Font Posters were available in 90 out of the 273 visited. “
According to Ms Obi, the situation room received reports of disruption of elections through thuggery and snatching of election materials in Lagos, Enugu, Kogi, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Imo and Rivers states.
She also stated that at least one journalist, Haruna Mohammed Salisu of WikkiTimes was taken into custody, resulting from an election incident in Bauchi.
She, therefore, called on security agencies to stay vigilant in the post-election period. Furthermore, she charged presidential candidates to conduct themselves in alignment with the provision of the peace accord they signed, and go to court where they disagree with election outcomes.