By Dr Jibrin Ibrahim & Clement Nwankwo-Election Data table provided by Nigerianmuse.com
The Civil Society Election Situation Room commends Nigerians for their determination in voting and protecting their votes in the 16 April presidential election. We note that this was in keeping with what was witnessed during the National Assembly elections held the previous week.
INEC has released the final returns from all the States and the Federal Capital Territory and a winner has emerged. We believe that, in managing this Presidential election, INEC sought to comply with the applicable electoral laws and the provisions of the Constitution. However, the Civil Society Election Situation Room notes reports of quite significant anomalies at the levels of accreditation, voting and collation, which we believe require prompt, open and transparent investigation. All persons found to have been involved in any such unlawful acts which undermine the credibility of the electoral process should be held accountable.
The contestants, their parties and supporters have a corresponding duty to respect the final results. Any complaints at this stage should be channeled through the appropriate election result verification and dispute resolution processes. The Civil Society Election Situation Room unequivocally condemns in the strongest terms the violence and killings which have attended the announcement of the results.
Accreditation and voting
Our network of observers from across the country has determined that INEC’s preparation and organization of the elections were an improvement on the National Assembly elections held the previous week. There was more timely delivery of materials, INEC officials were at their posts promptly, and voting and accreditation were largely peaceful in most of the polling units across the country. We believe that INEC made a laudable effort in ensuring that voters were free to exercise their franchise. Additionally, security officials and youth corps members deserve commendation for their roles in bringing this about.
However, the Civil Society Election Situation Room observers also noted a number of irregularities. One area of concern was significant instances of underage voting in Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba states. In particular, Bajoga, Funakaya LGA in Gombe State saw irate youths attempting to lynch the Resident Electoral Commissioner – along with a number of journalists – who sought to enforce the prohibition against underage voting. A second area of concern was incidents of massive thumb-printing, as was witnessed in Soku in Akuku Toro LGA in Rivers State. In Benue State, the chairperson of Independent Publishers was caught in a vehicle with previously thumb-printed ballot papers. Again in Benue State, six ballot boxes were snatched in Achia Kyurav-Ya in Kwande LGA, and an undisclosed number were also allegedly snatched in Pus in Shough Council in Gweru East LGA by Honourable Christine Alaago.
A further area of concern was the unjustified arrest and intimidation of election observers, notably in Isiala-Ngwa in Abia State, Isiala Mbano in Imo State, Jos in Plateau State, Port Harcourt in Rivers State, and Warri North in Delta State. Finally, we received reports of violence in various parts of the country, including the torching of government buildings, and the use of small arms and incendiary devices, resulting in several incidents of killings.
The collation process seems to have been the weakest link in the election management process. INEC appears to have been ineffective in its oversight function as far as monitoring and controlling the collation process was concerned. This state of affairs raised doubts about the authenticity of some of the figures arising from this process. Further, there were allegations that, in some cases, figures may have been doctored. Of particular note were the exceptionally high turnout figures in Abia (77%), Akwa Ibom (75%), Bayelsa (85%), Bauchi (63%), Cross River (63%), Delta (68%), Edo (74%), Enugu (62%), Kaduna (65%), Imo (84%), Plateau (62%) and Rivers (76%) states. This was against the national average of 53%. Such a high turnout is quite atypical of Nigerian elections and we call on INEC to rigorously investigate the authenticity of these figures.
INEC accredited a number of observers to be present at collation centres across the country, unlike what obtained in the National Assembly elections the previous week. Their presence, though a remarkable improvement on the previous exercise, seems to have had little impact on the problems associated with the collation process.
Conclusion and recommendations
Certain issues remain to be addressed by INEC: firstly, urgently enhancing the integrity of the collation process in the light of the challenges expected in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections; secondly, ensuring the safety and security of youth corps members in particular and observers in general; thirdly, continuing instances of violence in certain parts of the country.
In anticipation of the gubernatorial elections, and to further enhance the integrity of this process and its outcomes, the Civil Society Election Situation Room urges INEC to put in place mechanisms to respond promptly and transparently to any such complaints. With the announcement of results, we encourage the parties and their candidates to address such complaints to INEC, in accordance with the applicable legal and constitutional procedures.
Political leaders, for their part, have a corresponding responsibility to heal the wounds arising out of the political process, and we appeal to them to take this seriously.
In the light of the above, the Civil Society Election Situation Room appeals to all citizens, political parties, institutions, and political, civic and community leaders to respect the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of the electoral process and the sanctity of the Nigerian Federation.
19 April 2011
For: Elections Situation Room
Dr Jibrin Ibrahim Clement Nwankwo
Executive Director Executive Director
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC)
Tel: 0803 4001200 Tel: 0803 8899999
TABLE 1: NIGERIA’S 2011 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION (APRIL 16) RESULTS BY STATES
Compiled in present form by Nigerianmuse.com Posted: April 19, 2011 – 12:32