Ukpono Ukpong, Abuja
Connected Development (CODE), an INEC accredited observer organization has condemned in the strongest of terms, the wave of violence that plagued the supplementary elections held in Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Benue and Nassarawa states.
Speaking in Abuja, the CODE’s Head of Observer Mission, Hamzat Lawal, said that despite its recommendation after the Presidential and National Assembly elections that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in synergy with security agents, should improve their security architecture to protect electoral officers, voters, as well as electoral materials, the nation still witnessed a descent in the level of preparedness for the re-run polls.
He noted that CODE through its observation mapping tool, recorded series of violence incited by political thugs in Minjibir and Rimingado areas of Kano state; Jenta Mangoro, Plateau Hotel Road, and Angwa Abuja in Plateau state.
While calling on INEC to review its voters’ registration data to filter records of under-age persons, he said that notwithstanding CODE’s concerns over under-age voting witnessed during the Presidential and gubernatorial election, his organization still recorded unde-rage voting in Jama’are Jabbor Primary School, Bauchi state and Tauma ward of Bodinga Polling Unit 3, Sokoto state.
Speaking further, he stressed that as a matter of urgency, INEC needs to review its security architecture as provided for by the Electoral Act to curb violence and sanction perpetrators of election violence.
“To say the least, we are appalled by reports of political party agents harassing voters while security agents turned a blind eye.
“CODE condemns the persistent use of violence by rival party thugs in Kano, Bauchi, Benue and Nassarawa states as a means of disrupting the electoral process in favour of their candidates as reported from Gama ward in Nassarawa Local Government of Kano state where violence disrupted voting, affecting 44 polling units.
“INEC must also review its collation process and adopt result-management technology that is competent and secure for transmitting results. It is not enough that there is a countdown to election on INEC’s website, but a real-time collation table with live updates as results come in will improve the commission’s credibility.
“We recommend that INEC conducts a thorough evaluation of its performance during the 2019 elections and identify burning issues that have been raised by stakeholders to inform a more competent electoral process in future and secure our democracy,” Said Lawal