An election observer group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the conduct of presidential and National Assembly polls, just as it condemned the violence that led to reported killings in some parts of the country.
The group in its preliminary report of the election said despite initial fears and concerns, following the initial postponement of the election, INEC performed credibly well.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Sunday, February 24, 2019, acting executive director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi, while noting some challenges with the conduct of the election in some states of the federation, however, said the frameworks and mechanisms put in place by the electoral body ensured the polls were credible.
She said simultaneous accreditation and voting introduced by the electoral body in no small measure contributed to the relative success of the polls.
She noted for commendation the quick response of the INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, ordering the arrest of erring officials who connived with politicians to sabotage the electoral process in some polling units.
"We also note with concern, few cases of INEC officials conniving with politicians to sabotage the electoral process," she said. "For example in parts of Imo state, INEC officials connived with politicians to withhold electoral materials thereby preventing the elections from holding. We commend the quick response of the INEC Chairman in arresting the situation and ordering the arrest of the erring officials."
Nwadishi also commended Nigerians for braving the odds in spite of the difficulties to come out peacefully, in high numbers to perform their civic duty.
She, however, said that reports from observers deployed by group across the country indicated that the elections were still marred by challenges ranging from late arrival of materials and personnel, malfunctioning card readers, shortage of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, pockets of violence in some states resulting in killings and disruption of voting, missing names of registered voters from the electoral register, poor management of RACs on the polling day.
She commended INEC for its timely response to the fixing some of the card readers, and late arrival of materials.
"While INEC generally displayed dedication, we observed that some of them were still grappling with a basic understanding of their roles as well as the capacity to operate the card readers.
"There were widespread reports of late arrival of materials and personnel across the country even though the RACs were activated a night before. From our observation, this was due to lack of poor deployment of materials and personnel to various places.
"We noted that in certain cases, voters with PVCs could not find their names on the voters register and ended up being disenfranchised."
She also expressed concern with what she described as the unrelenting desperation of the political class and political parties in undermining the electoral process.
"The penchant for the use of political thugs, vote buying, the predilection for compromising the security agencies have all combined to pose serious threats to the political process by the political class/political parties."
The group further condemned, the reported killings in parts of the country, while urging security agencies to ensure culprits are brought to book.