As Nigerians wait, with high expectations for the official release of last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections results, a coalition of election observers civil society organizations accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), made public, the preliminary report of their observations of the conduct of last Saturday elections.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Convener, Campaign for Dignity in Governance.(CDG), Comrade Razaq Olokoba and National Coordinator, Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM), Comrade Nelson Ekujumi and made available to the media in Lagos Tuesday.
The observations, according to the duo, are based on the reports from our deployed field observers from the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) comprising of over 42 civil society organizations as well as reports from other accredited observer groups with which we collaborated and from reports monitored via the media and other sources.
The CGG commended the INEC for a credible conduct of the 2019 general elections in the face of the campaign of blackmail and calumny by ant- democratic elements before and during the elections and even now that the official results are being announced by the electoral umpire.
“We commend INEC for making swift amend with regards to logistics challenges of opening polling stations in some areas behind scheduled commencement time by allowing for extension of the closing time proportionate to the delayed time for starting.
“We also commend INEC for its timely response to few cases of observed malfunctioning E-cards readers which contributed greatly to a successful election unlike what obtained in the past,” they stated.
However, the group expressed sadness over reported physical attacks on INEC personnel by suspected political thugs which led to death, injuries and destruction of electoral materials.
“We commiserate with the commission over these few ugly incidents as we call on INEC not to succumb to intimidation, but to remain firm and resolute to deliver on it’s mandate of conducting a free, fair and credible election, while we are assuring them of Nigerians’ support and confidence in the commission to excel,” they promised.
The CDG also commended the resolute Nigerian people who trooped out to the polling stations in their numbers in an orderly and peaceful manner on election day across the federation, to exercise their civic responsibility in an atmosphere devoid of fear and intimidation.
“Unfortunately, we note with sadness the unprovoked assault on the democratic rights of Nigerians by suspected political thugs who attacked polling stations causing both physical and psychological injuries as well as death of not only civilians but also our security agents. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to the families of the deceased, while praying for the quick recovery of the injured,” the group condoled.
The duo also commended security agencies for their patriotism, professionalism, diligence, impartiality and restraint in the discharge of their constitutional responsibility even in the face of campaign of calumny and unprovoked physical attacks by suspected thugs which resulted in death of security personnel.
“While commiserating with the security agencies over the sad human loss and injuries from this mindless and unprovoked attacks, may we also use this medium to charge them to investigate these violations of our electoral law and assault on our humanity in order to apprehend the offenders and bring them to justice as quickly as possible.
“We equally commend the local and international observer groups for their professionalism and unbiasedness in observing the elections as we urge them to remain focused on their mandate and not succumb to political pressure in their reportage.
“We commend the local and international media for an excellent and professional coverage and reportage of the election which contributed greatly to the success recorded and urge them to remain unbiased as we monitor the release of results and await the announcement of the winner of the 2019 Nigeria’s Presidential election by the electoral umpire.
“However, we condemn in the strongest terms, the activities and comments from some of our political parties who have continued to undermine the sanctity and integrity of our electoral process before and during the elections and also now that INEC is collating and announcing results. Their conduct and comments is despicable, barbaric, irresponsible and an assault on our democracy and humanity as a people,” the organisation stated.
Finally, the CDG, from its observations and reports monitored, proudly asserted with all sense of responsibility that, “our preliminary report on the conduct of the 2019 general elections, confirms beyond reasonable doubt that the election was generally peaceful, free, fair and credible, of which we are very optimistic that the outcome as will be announced by the INEC will be a true reflection of the votes of the Nigerian people as expressed at the polls.”