The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, says it observed a high level of irregularities during Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections across the country.
TMG in a statement signed by its Chairman, Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, said the election was flawed by massive vote buying, widespread violence and voter intimidation as well as disregard for the electoral act.
The group, which stated that they had observers in every part of the country, said they are not surprised with the outcome of the election, as similar incidents were observed during the primaries of some political parties.
He said “TMG notes that the general conduct of the election across the country was peaceful in most parts, as voting occurred without recourse to violence. Notably, this was also largely occasioned by the deployment of security personnel across the country.
“Despite these gains, TMG in some cases observed incidences of voter intimidation and suppression, particularly in Lagos and Rivers States. In Lagos for instance, voters were threatened by thugs to vote for a certain party and candidate or stay away from voting completely.
“Voter intimidation and suppression were also evident in the violent conduct and disruption of polls as recorded in these two states where political thugs carted away, burnt, and destroyed election materials.
The group also faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and its Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stating that the electoral body failed to effectively discharge its responsibility, and also flouted the electoral act, adding that some polling units experienced delayed commencement of voting, incomplete voting materials, malfunctional BVAS devices and absence of INEC staff.
“TMG monitored the IREV portal late into the night of election day before legislative results started to trickle in. This contravenes Section 50 of the Electoral Act 2022, which aims to minimize human interference and manipulation of polling unit results.
“TMG also observed the open and scandalous disregard for the secrecy of the ballot as demonstrated by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation who are expected to be seen to display the highest political decorum.
“This singular act emboldened other party faithful including the Senate Majority Leader, Orji Uzor Kalu to openly display his thumb-printed ballot paper in contravention to the Electoral Act, 2022.
“At the National Results Collation Centre, the INEC Chairman insisted on proceeding with result collation against the request by party agents to confirm electronically transmitted results.
“The brazen disregard for the Electoral Act provision for the transmission of results electronically undermined the process.
“Hence, the credibility question on the outcome of the presidential election is not a product of the failure of technology to usher in the needed transparency, but a product of non-application of the technology.”
TMG, however, urged INEC to review all cases of electoral malpractice presented before it.
The group also added that in order to ensure a free and fair election in the country, there must be strict adherence to the electoral act, adding that electoral offenders of any kind must be arrested and brought to book.