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Avoid mistakes of presidential election, CDD tells INEC

Avoid mistakes of presidential election, CDD tells INEC

Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to repeat mistakes recorded in the presidential election in the governorship and state houses of assembly contest on Saturday.

At a briefing held on Friday for the launch of the CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Professor Adele Jinadu, Head of the EAC, and Idayat Hassan, Director of CDD, made the keynote address.

They said that since the elections were postponed by a week to give INEC time to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices, the Commission now has enough time to conduct better elections that won’t contain the previously noted problems.

They expressed the expectation that the additional time INEC had would result in better polls opening across the nation, with those polls properly stocked with the essential voting supplies to prevent the situations seen in the presidential votes, where voting went on much past the scheduled closing time.

They emphasized that improving the use of the INEC results viewing platform (IReV) and the functionality of the BVAS devices will both be crucial for the credibility of the elections.

“Improved functionality will contribute to greater election results transparency, but this can still be undermined by compromised INEC officials and ad-hoc staff.

They also entrusted INEC with reprimanding and suspending anyone discovered to be working with political players in their state and supporting polling unit cancellations in such cases, in order to ensure that the violations that occurred during the presidential elections do not occur again.

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In order to prevent the spread of misinformation and deception, Jinadu and Hassan asked INEC to refrain from going for extended stretches without saying anything.

The research tank highlighted that such competitive races are likely to be the scene of election violence, even though there will be new governors in 17 states regardless of the results of the polls because incumbents with term limits are ineligible to run.

The group mentioned potential forms of violence, such as intimidation of voters, ballot box snatching, and the destruction of election-related equipment.

It said: “States that will hold gubernatorial polls with the most incidents of political violence since 1 January 2023 according to the Nigeria Election Violence Tracker are Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Delta, and Anambra – with Kano the state with the most recorded deaths as a consequence at 20”.

According to Jinadu’s mapping, violence related to state elections may get worse due to armed groups’ operations as “quasi-security” organizations.

“Groups such as Yan Sakai, the Civilian Joint Task Force, Neighbourhood Watch, Amotekun, and Ebubeagu have been, and can be, armed and deployed by state governors and their allies to perpetrate electoral violence or suppress voter turnout, particularly in areas of strong opposition support.”

Apart from these outfits, Hassan noted the presence of the more conventional political thugs, paid to disrupt polls or intimidate political opponents, as a threat to these elections.

On the outcome of the elections, she observed that most political parties and online commentaries have erroneously projected similar results to the presidential results of 25 February in the distribution of governorship seats.

She said: “But these projections fail to adequately consider the senate and house of representatives’ results, which did not always go along the same line as the presidential outcome.”

Given the split voting, which characterized the presidential election, the experts stressed the need for political actors to ensure they do not depend on outsized expectations with respect to the outcomes.

Avoid mistakes of presidential election, CDD tells INEC

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