The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of over 60 civil society organisations (CSOs) across Nigeria, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel results from any affected polling unit across the states where electoral irregularities are established.
The Situation Room, in its preliminary report on Saturday in Abuja, also condemned flagrant disregard to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s electoral regulations, election-related murders, violence, among others, which it noted characterised the polls.
“Where failures are established, we call on INEC to seriously consider cancelling results from the affected polling units. We call on the security forces to uphold their professional ethics, avoid partisanship, and protect lives and property,” it said.
The group, which said it was concerned about the deteriorating situation, such as the increasing use of violence in Imo, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Lagos, and southern Kaduna States, called on INEC to redouble its efforts at protecting the integrity of the electoral process by upholding its regulations.
The statement reads: “The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room is observing the State-level elections for the Governorships and the State Houses of Assembly. The successful conclusion of these elections is crucial to the consolidation of democracy in the country and should complement the already concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections on March 28th 2015.
“We note that in many polling units, INEC’s electoral regulations were being flagrantly flouted. In most polling units, accreditation started on time. In Akwa Ibom State, there are reports of the accreditation of voters without valid PVCs. In Wadata Polling Unit (011) in Taraba State, voting commenced without accreditation, while in Rogo Ward in the same State, accreditation and voting are taking place simultaneously.
“In Nasarawa State, there are reports of the inability of INEC ad hoc staff to operate the card readers. In a limited number of polling units, we have also received reports of mass ballot thumb printing, attempts to bribe electoral officials, and the use of security officials to subvert the electoral process.
“We have reports of election-related murders in Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Ebonyi, Katsina, and Akwa Ibom States. These killings form part of a wider pattern of politically-motivated violence, arson, and hijacking of electoral materials that our observers have noted. The resort to violence may not be unrelated to the higher interests at stake in these State level elections. In Owerri North of Imo State, there are reports of rival party clashes and violence.”
“We call on all Nigerians to take advantage of these elections to choose leaders of their choice to conduct affairs in the states. We urge everyone to resist efforts at inflaming local passions with a view to instigating violence or perverting the electoral process.”
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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