London based independent policy institute, Chatham House, has knocked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the conduct of the just concluded presidential election.
The electoral body had declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the February 25 polls, defeating Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, engages governments, the private sector, civil society, and its members in open debates.
Prior to the election, all major presidential candidates in Nigeria were visitors to the organisation including INEC’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.
Speaking on behalf of the institute, the Associate Fellow, Leena Koni Hoffmann, stated that from its analysis of the February 25 presidential election, it would appear that INEC failed to learn new lessons.
The institute disclosed that the electoral body did not adhere to its guidelines, which it enunciated before the poll, especially the one bordering on real-time uploading results, adding that the delayed opening of polls meant many potential voters could not vote.
Hoffman wrote, “The INEC’s performance and controversies over these results mean that the electoral reforms and lessons declared to have been learned were not fully applied and, as an electoral body, it was significantly less prepared than it claimed.
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“The logistical failures of INEC and widespread delayed opening of polling units meant that voters who showed up at the polls early were frustrated, and many voters and INEC staff were not able to locate their polling units for several hours.”
Chatham also recorded that Nigerians queued in the sun and rain to cast their votes, despite recurrent fuel crisis, epileptic power supply, record inflation, and a painful cash crunch.
Despite the sacrifices, the institute observed thousands of voters were disenfranchised, and multiple irregularities were recorded, as well as intimidation and violence.
“Less than half of eligible voters could participate in the elections, despite the commission’s N305 billion budgetary allocation. While Nigeria’s youth seemed energised leading up to the elections, it seems their ability to turn out is still being hugely constrained by how difficult and potentially dangerous it is to cast a vote in Nigeria.
“The INEC’s performance and controversies over these results mean that the electoral reforms and lessons declared to have been learned were not fully applied.
“At just 25.7 percent, the elections have the lowest recorded turnout of any election since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, despite being the most expensive. These dwindling numbers highlight how Nigeria’s politics and state institutions continue to exclude rather than include,” Chatham house added.
via: Information Nigeria
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