The March 18 governorship and state legislative elections in Nigeria were marred by violence and suppression of voters.
Development Diaries reports that at least 20 persons were feared killed as Nigerians headed to the polls to elect 28 governors and lawmakers across 1,021 constituencies.
Yiaga Africa, in its preliminary statement on the polls, condemned the attacks in Delta, Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kano, and Taraba states.
Also, the Nigeria Situation Room, in its second interim statement, identified that there were shortcomings in the management of electoral operations and logistics as well as election security.
Similarly, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) said that violence undermined the improved conduct of the polls.
Overall, a combination of violence, vote buying, online and offline intimidation of voters, disinformation and decreased citizens’ trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was recorded before, during and after the elections.
After giving Nigerians high hopes that it would conduct free, transparent and credible elections using the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) and the electronic transmission of results, the electoral umpire failed to deliver on its promises.
Also, security operatives, including personnel of the Nigerian police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), failed to live up to expectations, too.
Electoral violence has been a constant in Nigeria and it is time the country nipped it in the bud.
Development Diaries calls on the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee On Election Security (ICCES), which includes INEC, to take urgent steps in addressing electoral violence.
We also urge INEC to declare elections inconclusive in areas where irregularities have been recorded to ensure a free and fair electoral process.