By Jonathan Lois
YIAGA Africa, yesterday, chided the outcome of the supplementary polls held in Benue, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto States respectively; noting that it was marred by ballot-box snatching, vote-buying and deployment of thugs by political parties.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Chairman, Watching the Vote Working (WVW), Dr Hussaini Abdu, who lamented how unserious and lawless the electoral process turned out, maintained that the country has been thrown into what he called ‘democratic recession.”
He said: “YIAGA Africa questions the credibility of some results announced by INEC in polling units and LGA collation centres where observers and voters were chased away by political thugs and police officers.
“This was prevalent in Kano State in places like PUs 008 and 010, Kwarkiya Ward of Minjibir LGA, PU 008, Kanawa ward; Cikin Gari ward 05, in Sumaila LGA; and PU 07, Batayya ward 02, Albasu LGA; Zango PU 021, Karaye ward 03, Karaye LGA in Kano State.
“In addition is the result from Polling unit 003 Alkala, gaya Arewa ward in Gaya LGA where voting was not concluded at the polling unit however results were announced at the collation centre.”
He further pointed out that, “high level of impunity observed in the supplementary elections is an indication of democratic recession in Nigeria.
“As noted earlier, political thugs unleashed violence and terror on unarmed voters, INEC officials and citizens without any form of restraint or reprimand from security agencies deployed for the elections.
“In some cases, political thugs overpowered security agents despite massive security deployment as reported in Makurdi where the Returning Officer for Gboko was shot by unknown gunmen on her way to the state headquarters to submit election results as well as Ukum LGA, Benue state where thugs burnt election materials for polling units in Azendieshi Ward-02 and the Incidence of this nature, questions the effectiveness of massive security deployment for elections.
“Nigeria cannot continue to condone this brazen disregard for law and order by political actors. As a country determined to make progress, electoral impunity must be checkmated else it will imperil our 20 year old democracy,” he noted.
Apart from urging Nigerians not to doubt YIAGA Africa’s finding because over 258 experienced observers were deployed to oversee the referendum, he beckoned on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review the process.