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Observers allege destruction of democratic institutions, abuse of electoral guidelines, others

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Mr. Samson Itodo

Stop heating up polity, group cautions monitors
A coaltion of civil society groups under the auspices of Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa has accused the political class of undermining democratic institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

It feared that the situation could imperil the country’s democracy if left unchecked.At a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, YAIGA Africa Executive Director, Samson Itodo, decried the do-or-die disposition of politicians to winning elections and deployment of the military for the exercises in contravention to extant laws.He also condemned the destruction and vandalisation of INEC offices by desperate players in the nation’s electoral system.

The observers noted with dismay the “flagrant abuse of guidelines on collation of results of the March 9 governorship and state houses of assembly elections.” They equally lamented the alleged non-compliance with election guidelines and procedural lapses in the entire process.

YIAGA Africa observed that in some cases, INEC officials allegedly instructed security agents to deny accredited observers access to result collation centres. Itodo said: “The common good should be the ultimate goal of public leadership but it appears politicians are determined to subvert the electoral process for their personal gains.

“The reports on non-compliance with electoral guidelines and procedural lapses in our electoral process could potentially undermine the integrity of elections.”In some cases, INEC officials instructed security agents to deny accredited observers access to result collation centres.”

According to him, the attacks on journalists and civil society actors during the polls were condemnable.He continued: “As noted in previous Watch The Vote (WTV) observation reports, the March 9 elections have been characterised by high level of vote buying and selling. In some centres, the polls were determined by the highest bidders. What is most astonishing is the poor number of arrests despite reported cases.”

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Front (NDF) has accused YIAGA Africa of creating “unnecessary panic in the polity in the name of observation.”In a statement by its Secretary General, Dr. Bolaji Abdulkadir, the group claimed that the monitors were playing mind games with Nigerians to create a scenario whereby President Muhammadu Buhari would be perceived as reversing himself on an earlier order to the military.

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INECSamson ItodoYIAGA
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