THE European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has released its report of the supplementary elections that held across five states in Nigeria on Saturday, March 23, returning a damning verdict for Kano State where it said extensive electoral security problems were observed.
The report which was released on Monday noted that several locations where the supplementary elections held were inaccessible to journalist and observers as “groups of youths with clubs and machetes patrolled the streets”.
“Extensive electoral security problems were observed in some areas, with groups of men with weapons intimidating and obstructing the process, and security agencies ineffective at protecting citizens’ right to vote,” the report read in part.
“In particular, parts of Kano were largely inaccessible to EU observers, and citizen observers and journalists were also obstructed. EU observers also witnessed increased interference by party agents and cases of vote-buying.”
The group regretted that “INEC did not comment on electoral disturbances, despite its overall responsibility for the election and security arrangements neither did the political parties take any steps to rein in supporters and prevent evident violence, intimidation or other misconduct.
“In Nasarawa local government area (LGA) in Kano, which accounted for approximately one-third of all registered voters for the supplementary governorship election, EU observers witnessed organised intimidation of voters. Groups of youths with clubs and machetes patrolled the streets, and people with party agent tags harassed voters. During collation in Kano, EU observers saw that several INEC polling staff had been attacked. Large groups of men with weapons were not contained by the police,” the report read.
However, “in the polling units that could be fully observed, there were improved logistical arrangements and procedures were mostly followed, although there were problems with secrecy of the ballot”.
The incumbent governor, Umar Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner of the election, defeating his opponent Abba Kabir-Yusuf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who has vowed to challenge the outcome in the election petitions tribunal.
“Of the 40 polling units that EU teams could fully observe, (political party) agents were present in all and in five cases were seen interfering in the work of polling officials, in Benue, Plateau and Sokoto.”