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Friday, March 24, 2023

    Governorship Elections: Observers List Flashpoints

    The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has raised concerns over potential threats of violence in many states during the March 18 governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

    Development Diaries reports that Nigerians will return to the polls on Saturday to elect 28 governors and lawmakers across 1,021 constituencies.

    Convener of the Situation Room, Ene Obi, urged security agencies to act quickly in the circumstance especially in Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kano states in the face of recent happenings.

    The coalition of election observers said it would deploy 2,340 election observers, including 131 persons living with disabilities (PWDs), with at least three election observers in each of the 774 local government areas, excluding the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where no election is taking place.

    Situation Room also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that polls open on time and avoid the loopholes of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.

    Generally, logistics challenges, overvoting, voter inducement, delay in uploading results from polling units to INEC portal, and violence were observed during the polls.

    ‘The security situation across the country appears tense, with reports of violence, kidnap and assassination in several states including Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kano’, the statement read.

    ‘As such, Situation Room reminds the Nigeria police and other security agencies that they have a primary responsibility to guarantee the safety and security of election officials as well as other election stakeholders, including voters, polling agents, election observers, the media and service providers.

    ‘Security agencies should take adequate measures to forestall the recurrence of acts of voter suppression, disruption of voting, and outright violence experienced in some places during the presidential and National Assembly elections’.

    Obi also said that the observers expect that the glitches that led to the malfunctioning of the INEC Result Viewing (iReV) portal have been resolved, and that the issues that occasioned the inability of the commission to conduct elections in some polling units and late opening of polls in others have been addressed.

    Development Diaries calls on political parties to respect and abide by the peace accord signed by them. We also urge INEC to ensure it abides by its guidelines for the elections and the Electoral Act 2022 to ensure that polls are transparent and fair to all.

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