Elections: CODE highlights worrisome trends across the nation

CONNECTED Development (CODE), a Nigerian non-profit organisation that monitored the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections, have highlighted what it described as “worrisome trends” across the country.

The group, in collaboration with its media partners, said gaps and unpreparedness within the structure of the electoral process are threatening the credibility of the election.  

CODE uses Uzabe, a tool, to identify flaws in the Nigerian electoral processes and to provide a feedback mechanism that gives citizens real-time situational reports on election processes targeting specific locations within different parts of the country.

Uzabe currently has 20,000 trained observers dispersed across different voting units in Nigeria.

Hamzat Lawal, CEO of CODE, said at a press briefing on Sunday, February 26, that the 2023 general election is still in progress, with 20,000 community-driven observers on the ground.

He said CODE and its partners using Uzabe had noticed a worrisome trend across the nation that points to the gaps and unpreparedness within the structure of the electoral process, which is threatening the credibility of this election.  

He said several reports indicate that States like Ekiti, Cross River, Imo, and Rivers have had their Local Government Area (LGA) collation centres relocated without adequate information to stakeholders.

“In Ekiti especially, we have it on good authority that all LGA collation centres were relocated, and in most cases, accredited observers were outrightly denied access and new locations were shrouded in secrecy.

“We have seen issues of elections not holding in some local government areas, and results are being collated. This happened in Oru East, Imo State, where our observers confirmed that no election was held, and in fact, some voters were asked to vote in a private residential building of a party chieftain, which is clearly against INEC guidelines and the Electoral Act. Yet we have results from that LGA. This is an indictment on INEC and all that our constitution stands for. 

“We also noted that in many polling stations, BVAS were reported to be malfunctioning, and observers even recorded a shortage of necessary materials. For example, in the North East (In Adamawa precisely), we have several reports of the BVAS malfunctioning and the accreditation process is disrupted. This is happening in a place like Yola North, in the Capital School Polling Unit,” Hamzat said.

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He said CODE is also concerned about the slow upload of results on the INEC result portal, even though elections have been concluded in some polling units since yesterday.

He gave the following data on the election. 

“Polling station issues that had the highest publication on Uzabe had the following breakdown by geopolitical zones: SE – 11%, SW – 13.19%, NC – 19.15%, NE – 17.87%, NW – 23.4, SS – 14.47. We see that the northwest had the highest polling station issues.

“Positive events which had the second highest publishing on UZABE has the following breakdown by geopolitical zones: SE – 3%, SW – 10%, NC – 27%, NE – 13%, NW – 24%, SS – 23%. We see that the north central had the highest positive events.”




     

     

    CODE and its partners called on the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to be independent and serve the people the constitution has mandated.

     “Nigerians deserve efficiency, they deserve fairness, with people denying themselves sleep and keeping wake under the rain, Nigerians deserve better from Public institutions. 

    “Therefore we are calling on INEC to address these issues immediately. We are also calling on the Nigerian police as the lead agency on election security to monitor,” Hamzat added.

    The group praised security forces deployed for their part in the election and asked INEC to stick to the electoral act of 2022.

     

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