The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has received praise from the Heads of International Observers Election Groups for its conduct of the Presidential/National Assembly polls on Saturday, which saw over 80 million citizens vote in what is possibly Nigeria’s most anticipated general elections.
The African Union, led by former president Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and the commonwealth team, led by former president Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, are among the International Observers Election Groups that commended the election’s smooth running. However, the observers expressed disappointment about the outbreak of violence in some states of the country.
The observers identified late arrival of voting materials, violence in some parts of the country, and reported cases of ballot snatching in some states as some of the challenges encountered during the election. The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) also raised concerns over the violence that erupted in some parts of the country.
NDI/IRI election observer group leader, Dr Joyce Banda, noted during a news conference in Abuja that while the signing of the Peace Accord offered presidential aspirants the opportunity to caution their supporters, it failed to achieve its aim. The group stated that the election fell short of its expectation due to inadequate logistics and political violence, among other factors.
The European Union Observer Mission also raised concerns about vote buying, violence, and delay in the deployment and commencement of the elections. The E.U Chief Election Observer, Barry Andrews, expressed concerns about INEC’s lack of transparency over its delay in uploading results on its portal promptly.
The observer group further expressed concerns about the inability of some eligible voters to perform their civic duties due to cash crunch and fuel shortages. Nigerians currently await the final election results, which will declare the winner of the keenly contested polls.