New Telegraph

INEC’s questionable credibility affected guber poll –CDD

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has said the credibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of Presidential and National Assembly elections shaped the opinions of Nigerians in the March 18 Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections. CDD, at a press conference by the Chair, Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Prof Adele Jinadu and its Director Idayat Hassan, stated that diminished trust in INEC as an institution also shaped perceptions and acceptance of the results returned, “particularly in races where a narrow margin of victory is recorded or where presidential results are not replicated at the sub-national level.”

It expressed concerns that the improved conduct of the governorship and House of Assembly elections by INEC “has been undermined by the combination of violence, vote buying, online and offline intimidation of voters, disinformation and decreased citizens’ trust in INEC.” According to the report, in some polling units, the violence was unleashed to intimidate, suppress and destroy election materials, adding that these disruptive activities caused a multiplier effect, which, it said, further led to the reduction of voters’ appetite to cast their ballots. “In the first six hours of polls being open on March 18 CDD’s war room team came across a flurry of voter intimidation videos, particularly from Lagos State where it was ensconced in rhetoric about belonging and ethnic identity, an illustration of the ways that voter intimidation took place both online, as well as offline. “Victims of this violence were first and foremost voters, some of whom were denied the right to exercise their franchise as a result of polling units cancelling results or having their ballot boxes snatched.

“But there were also attacks directed at, or threats made toward, adhoc INEC staff with one shot in Cross River and more than 10 kidnapped after voting in Imo State; journalists reporting on the election in Lagos, Rivers and Ogun, domestic election observers and other party agents,” the CDD stated. It added that violence were also targeted at the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine in order to disrupt the process and ensure the cancellation of results, stating that such incidents took place in Warri South West LGA, Delta and Ezza North LGA, Ebonyi State. The centre regretted that scale of violence would lead to a wave of post-election litigations, and warned that the situation could result in courts determining the legality of the election mandates secured.

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