Coalition presents Lagos guber preliminary reports, say polls commendable
The Nigerian Human Rights Community (NIHRCO), a coalition of over 100 civil society and community-based organisations (CBO), has stated that Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s election victory reflect the will of the people.
Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes to defeat Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, his closest rival, who had 312,329, during the governorship election held on March 18.
At a briefing in Lagos yesterday, the coalition in its preliminary report read by its Senior Programme Office, Mr. Taiwo Adeleye and former Secretary General of Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Mr David Ajetunmobi, said the election was not devoid of hitches but that overall, the result of the election represented the free and informed consent of the people.
They stressed that officials of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) deserve commendation for their actions throughout the conduct of the election as they arrived early in many of the polling units.
NIHRCO said it deployed 680 observers across the 20 LGAs and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state, adding that its observations took a “dialectical overview of the strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats before, during and after the election.”
The coalition maintained that the shortcomings recorded during the election were not enough to undermine its outcome, noting that no election is 100 per cent perfect globally.
It said that total condemnation of the March 18 election process and the outcome are “absolutely wrong and unprofessional,” while urging stakeholders to stop stoking the embers of violence, saying it is an ill wind that blows no one any good.
“We recognise the fact that the election was conducted in a democratic manner that largely meets local and international expectations. The outcome of the election truly represented the wishes and aspirations of the people of Lagos.
“The candidate announced by INEC, Governor Sanwo-Olu represented the will of the people, while the results declared by the electoral umpire are a true reflection of the aspirations of the people.”
The coalition said the election was the “most peaceful election in Lagos since 1999 in the post-military era.”
The group regretted, however, that the campaign mostly by non-state actors was characterised by ethnic and religious baiting.
“Some of the actors in this dangerous enterprise are people who live outside the country. The ethnic baiting was mostly between Igbo and Yoruba people. However, those responsible for the baiting are fringe elements. Majority of Igbo and Yoruba people in Lagos are more concerned with their livelihood and not interested in promoting violence and mayhem.”
NIHRCO called on aggrieved parties to shun violence and ethnic profiling and explore all legal means instead.
The coalition also asked that INEC should improve the number of polling units in Lagos and make more provisions for vulnerable communities, pregnant women, and People Living With Disabilities (PLWD) in future elections.