The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has described Saturday’s General Election has being a step backward from the 2015 election.
Situation Room, a coalition of over 70 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in its third interim report on Monday, also noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “has not managed the election efficiently and significant shortcomings have been recorded.”
“The election has been a step back from the 2015 General Election and actions should be taken to identify what has gone wrong and what can be corrected. Situation Room urges voters and stakeholders to exercise restraint to avoid further loss of human life and to seek legal redress were aggrieved,” Clement Nwankwo, Situation Room’s convener said.
Among recommendations made, Nwankwo said that there should be an independent inquiry into the poor management of the electoral process by INEC with a view to determine the underlining causes for logistics lapses with a view of itemising operational deficiency that led to the initial postponement of elections on the 16th of February and logistical challenges with the rescheduled elections on 23rd February 2019.
“In addition to this, INEC is expected to inquire into the activities of its staff with respect to late arrivals to polling station; lack of understanding of processes by ad hoc staff; and the allegations of collusion between staff and politicians.
“The failure of the Smart card readers in identified polling units should be interrogated with a special audit of the results of polling units where 5% card reader incidence failure was recorded.
“Particular instances of contrived and voter suppression due to violence must be thoroughly investigated and perpetrators and their sponsors punished to the full length of the law. These allegations must be thoroughly investigated to restore faith in the process and address lingering social fractures that reinforce feeling of exclusion,” he said.
Situation Room also called on the international community to continue to lend their voices in defence of the integrity of the result, adding that “In particular we urge the United States and the United Kingdom to follow through on their earlier statement that they will sanction individuals whose actions undermine the election or have led to the death of citizens.”