2023 polls: Observer group wants INEC unbundled
• Records 30 ballot box snatching, 50 vote-buying cases
• Yiaga upholds INEC’s declarations in Delta, Benue, Kano
An observer group, Connected Development (CODE), has said the manner in which the 2023 general elections were conducted suggests the need for quick unbundling of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The organisation said after a thorough review of the presidential, National Assembly, governorship and House of Assembly elections, INEC, as presently constituted, cannot deliver a credible election.
Chief Executive Officer of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, stated this, yesterday, during the organisation’s post-election briefing in Abuja.
He said: “Nigerian people will not enjoy the dividends of democracy until the unbundling of INEC as an institution. First, how do the chairman and national commissioners emerge? Most importantly, how do the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) also emerge? Who exactly are they answerable to? Today, what we have seen is that the institution as a whole and the people there have been compromised.
“The RECs are more of placeholders for corrupt politicians and mischief-makers. So, for us to get it right, we must unbundle this institution and make it truly independent.”
On the governorship polls across the country, the organisation reportedly recorded 30 incidents of ballot box hijacking and 50 cases of vote-buying.
According to Lawal, data from the 20,000 election observers deployed by the organisation through its ‘Uzabe’ platform to monitor the polls, also indicated 27 per cent voter turnout on election day due to issues of intimidation, violence and voter suppression.
He explained that the figures represented a disturbing trend for democratic governance in the country, and called on stakeholders to ensure the prosecution of those responsible for the electoral malpractices and other infractions.
Meanwhile, YIAGA Africa Initiative (YIAGA Africa) has said the election results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Delta, Benue and Kano states are consistent with its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) turnout projection.
The election monitoring group, in its results verification statement signed by its Executive Director, Samson Itodo, asserted that the projections do not include cancelled polling units, as they were not consistently announced by INEC during collation.
According to Itodo, the PVT statistical analysis is based on the number of registered voters, not the number of PVCs collected.
Summarising findings from the PVT, he explained: “The results verification statement is based on reports from 277 of 300 (92 per cent) sampled polling units in Benue, excluding Kwande Local Council, as the governorship election was not conducted in the council.
“For Delta, the statement is based on reports received from 281 of 300 (94 per cent) sampled polling units, excluding four per cent of polling units where voting was disrupted and, for Kano, the statement is based on reports from 287 of 300 (96 per cent) sampled polling units.
“In Benue, INEC’s turnout and rejected ballots for the 22 local councils as announced are consistent with Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) PVT estimates. Yiaga Africa is able to estimate that turnout is between 26 per cent and 32 per cent (29.4 per cent ± 2.6 per cent) while INEC’s official result is 27 per cent.”
Yiaga Africa estimated rejected ballots to be between 1.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent (1.4 per cent ± 0.2 per cent), putting INEC’s official result at 1.5 per cent.