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Monday, 25 November 2013

INEC yet to overcome previous challenges, says TMG

 by John Alechenu    

A preliminary report by the Transition Monitoring Group, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission is yet to overcome problems plaguing elections in the country.
The TMG is a coalition of over 400 civic organisations which has been involved in election monitoring in Nigeria since 1998.
Chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, released the preliminary findings at a media briefing in Abuja, on Sunday.
He explained that based on reports from its 633 citizen observers deployed across the three senatorial districts and all 21 LGAs, the TMG found that while many elements of the Election Day process were adequate, there were serious shortcomings in the conduct of the election.
Zikirullahi listed some of the shortcomings to include but not limited to, “Late arrival of election materials at polling units-as at 7.30am, observers reported that only 39 percent of polling units across the state had their election material, and by 9am only 43 percent of polling units were able to open.
“No election took place in five wards of Idemili North LGA-Abatete, Npor I, Npok II, Obosi and Ogidi I.”
According to him, in Idemili North for example, while INEC should be acknowledged for providing an opportunity for some voters to vote on Sunday, these shortcomings undermine public confidence in the electoral process.
This, he said, was even more so when many of these issues were not new and had plagued past elections.
Zikirullahi however noted that at the 100 percent of the polling units, observers reported that they agreed that ballots were properly counted, announced and results reflected the ballots cast.
Speaking in a similar vein, Executive Director of the Civil Societies Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Auwual Musa-Rafsanjani, described the election as a bad advertisement for INEC’s preparations towards the 2015 general elections.
He said it was sad that more than one decade after INEC began conducting elections, it was still grappling with problems of logistics such as late arrival or non arrival of staff and voting materials.
Musa-Rafsanjani said, “This election shows clearly that 2015 is not going to be any different from previous elections. In fact, the gains recorded in the 2011 elections have been eroded because the ruling party had its way in circumventing the process in connivance with some INEC officials.”


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