Some accredited local and foreign elections observers have demanded a quick and complete audit of the 2019 General Elections, lamenting the rampant vote-buying and inducement of voters as well as pockets of violence during the elections.
The observers, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and Election Observation Platform (EOP) were unanimous in saying that vote-buying will continue to hurt Nigeria’s democracy if not checked.
Speaking at the event marking their post 2019 election briefing on Thursday in Abuja, the Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said voters were being dis-empowered to give their votes in exchange of money and other material needs.
“A system that cannot deliver its own people without political corruption and inducement is failed and cannot help its people out of poverty or bad governance. It can be said that rampant spread of vote-buying is acting as a stimulus for the ruin and death of democracy in the country and also acting as a hindrance to the possibilities of good governance in the country,” she said.
Akiyode-Afolabi said that election observer groups have concluded arrangements to ensure that all professors who served as Returning Officers (ROs) for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the exercise are made to speak up at a public hearing.
The WARDC boss who is also the Chairman of the TMG, also threatened that they would shame some individuals with their recommendations about what transpired across 36 States during the elections.
“We are demanding a general audit and the audit is important because it will help us to understand what went wrong and what role each stakeholder played. There are roles voters played that we need to find strategies to address. There were roles political parties played in stifling the system.”
She said the audit will help to have a holistic and comprehensive understanding of what went wrong and that from their assessment, the last electioneering process for 2019 elections was a big retrogression from where the nation was coming from.
“It took us back to 2007 where we had no elections. The point I am raising is that, we need an audit to understand how we got here. Why we are raising concerns is that, we also noticed that it got to a time, where INEC was so helpless. We had a situation where electoral officers were being shot. We had a situation where electoral officers were hijacked and held hostage.
She said, “Very soon, we are going to bring out our recommendations for the institutions that are involved. We are going to mention names, we are going to shame who are supposed to be shamed, and we are going to come out with strong recommendations, asking for the institutions to take steps”