Yiaga Africa Punches INEC, Says, It Should Review Concerns, Investigate Manipulations Over Guber Polls

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Yiaga Africa, a non-governmental organisation, says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needs to review concerns that have been raised about the conduct of the gubernatorial polls. 

The commission had declared elections in states like Adamawa and Kebbi inconclusive while it suspended results collation in others such as Enugu and Abia after the conduct of the March 18 polls.

In a statement on Tuesday, Yiaga Africa said INEC should look into the cases, “especially instances” where the declaration of the results contravened the electoral legal framework.

While condemning the violence that occurred at some polling units, the organisation noted that NEC performed better at the March 18 polls than during the presidential election.

Yiaga said its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) turnout projections for the states where it deployed observers were consistent with INEC’s declaration.

However, it recommended that “INEC should, in line with section 64 of the 2022 electoral act, review cases where legitimate concerns have been raised on the conduct and declarations made by collation and returning officers, especially instances where results declaration contravene the electoral legal framework.

“There should be an immediate investigation and prosecution of collation and returning officers engaged in results manipulation and flagrant violations of the guidelines on results collation.

A comprehensive independent audit of the 2023 general election is imperative for inspiring public confidence and ensuring accountability for operational lapses, constitutional and electoral legal framework violations, and cases of subversion of the people’s vote.

“Security agencies should thoroughly investigate cases of abductions and killings recorded during the election to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.

“Election tribunals and appellate courts should demonstrate courage as a fundamental pillar of democracy to insulate the courts from the influence of politicians and uphold the rule of law to the highest standards in determining election petitions.”