The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lacked transparency in conducting the governorship and states’ assembly polls last Saturday.
“The institution continued to lack transparency,” the EU EOM on Monday in its second preliminary statement that stressed the polls were tainted by incidences of thuggery, vote-buying and intimidation of voters, particularly in Lagos and Kano states.
“However, polling on election day was disrupted by multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists,” the foreign mission said on Monday. “Lagos, Kano, and other states in the southern and central part were most affected. Unfortunately, there were many casualties and fatalities. Vote-buying, also directly observed by EU EOM observers, further detracted from an appropriate conduct of the elections.”
Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, said Nigerians who had initially shown keen interest in performing their civic duties were disappointed and, consequently, uninterested in casting their ballots.
“Throughout the mission, we saw that Nigerians have a great appetite for democracy and are keen to engage in various civic activities. However, in many parts of the country, their expectations were not met. Many were disappointed and we witnessed voter apathy that is in part a clear consequence of failures by political elites and, unfortunately, also by INEC,” Mr Andrews said.
The EU emphasised that coordinated violent acts in numerous states prior to the election weakened voters’ trust in their ability to cast their ballots in a secure environment.
“Insecurity impeded the canvass for votes in certain parts of the country and organised violent attacks shortly before the elections in several states led to a fearful atmosphere,” the statement noted.
Nonetheless, the EU EOM observed that INEC corrected its flaws in the presidential elections by delivering sensitive materials on time during the governorship elections.