Civil Society Group Calls For Urgent Review Of Nigerian Electoral Laws

File photo of voters waiting on a queue to cast their vote

 

Situation Room, a platform of civil society organsiation working on elections has called for an urgent review of Nigerian electoral laws.

This formed the subject of discussion during a National Stakeholder’s Forum on Elections organised by Situation Room in Abuja, on Monday.

The group blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for not speaking up when it was obvious aspects of the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa state elections were compromised leading to the sort of violence in the state.

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege speaking at the event said the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill will to reduce the number of existing political parties for better electoral management.

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He added that the ninth Assembly is committed to creating a robust electoral framework.

Juliet Ibekaku Nwagwu, representative of the Attorney General Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami at the event said the government is working to ensure a quick passage of the amendment of the electoral act and they are working with the National Assembly to make that happen.

She added they are also working to ensure passage of an electoral offenses commission law.

INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye in his address said e-collation and transmission of results are possible and achievable in the 2023 elections.

He added that the electoral body will consider improving the electoral process through technology but will test the suitability of any technology to be adopted.

Okoye concluded that it will work with the National Assembly on electoral Reforms and INEC will have to study all sundry issues on cyber security, level of literacy, internet penetration, and others before going into electronic voting.

Elections: Situation Room Asks INEC To Partner NSA On Security

 

 

The Convener of Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should partner the National Security Adviser in order to handle election security.

Nwankwo said this on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He noted that it is the duty of the electoral body to provide security during elections.

“INEC hearing with the National Security Adviser are supposed to work to deal with security around elections. We had said from the beginning that we would like civil societies to even observe and contribute to suggestions.

“When you look at Section 29 (2) of the Electoral Act is very clear that INEC is in charge of security for the elections and gives directives to the security services on what to do,” he said.

He added that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu collaborated with the electoral body during the 2019 election, this according to him helped in cutting the excesses of police officers during the election.

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“When we meet with the IGP, we were very impressed with his commitment to pulling back to some of our observations we had about the excesses of the police.

“I believe that the new Inspector General of Police did a lot to get the police to become very compliant to some of the duties that are provided for it under the law.

“We are not so sure this was the case across all of the security services. At that point, we made it very clear that you needed to be sure people understand that this is an election to be run by INEC,” he said.

Nwankwo’s comments come two days after he said 2019 general elections in Nigeria failed to meet the “threshold for free, fair and credible elections.”

The civil society organisation, which was one of the accredited election monitors, said this while presenting its report on the 2019 elections.

Despite the revelation, he, however, promised to work with the electoral body to build confidence in the electorates.

He said: “We will continue to work to build people’s confidence in INEC. I think there were challenges with the elections, we have outlined it.

“We do know that INEC has also acknowledged that there are challenges. I think the question here is the approach in beginning to understand how to work towards redressing these challenges. And we are quite prepared to work with INEC to begin to address these challenges.”

Disregard Places Where Violence Occurred In Kano And Declare A Winner – Situation Room Tells INEC

The Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo

 

The Nigeria Civil Society, Situation Room, has asked INEC to discountenance areas where violence marred the Kano State supplementary elections and declare a winner for the polls.

In a statement by its spokesman, Clement Nwankwo, the Situation Room urged the electoral umpire to proceed with declarations on the basis of polls already concluded.

Situation Room condemned the actions of political parties in the run-up to the supplementary elections and on the election day proper.

The group noted in its report that massive thugs were deployed to intimidate voters, observers and even INEC officials around polling units in Gama Ward.

Situation Room also reported that there was a high deployment of unaccredited party agents to polling units, noting that these agents aided in the disruption of the voting process.

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Speaking further on the situation of things in Kano while the supplementary polls were underway, the group said it was concerned that abuses of electoral processes and violent incidents were recorded despite the deployment of top-level officials.

The group said, “It is therefore ironic and curious that this level of violence and political thuggery will occur with this quantum of senior police officers deployed,” adding that “Situation Room has always advocated against redeployment of Commissioners of Police ahead of elections”.

Situation Room also stated that there were high incidences of vote buying facilitated by thugs and party agents.

“This trend was seen particularly in Gama Ward of Nasarawa Local Government. There were also cases of attempted inducement of observers with cash,” Situation Room stated.

In its final analysis, the Situation Room said the country is in no mood to accept the conduct of another supplementary election, hence, the INEC should declare a winner based on polls already conducted in the state.

State Elections: Situation Room Says It Has Recorded Seven Deaths

 

 

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room says it has documented at least seven politically motivated deaths within since the beginning of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in 29 states across the country.

The spokesperson of the group, Clement Nwankwo, said this at the presentation of an interim report on the conduct of the elections in Abuja.

The local elections observer group expressed serious concern on the spate of electoral violence recorded so far in some elections where elections are holding.

He said, “The Situation Room is concerned that despite the high level of deployment of security we are still having pockets of violence.”

READ ALSO: Two Killed In Benue Election Violence

He called on the security agents to arrest and prosecute all election offenders irrespective of their party affiliation.

Earlier, Mr. Nwankwo had deplored the military’s involvement in the nation’s elections, saying the practice posed a threat to the nation’s democracy.

Speaking on The Verdict, Channels Television’s special broadcast on the ongoing state elections, Mr. Nwankwo said if the military would not take directives from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), they should not participate in electoral process.

“We went through 13 years of brutal military dictatorship and we are at the point today where for the first time since 1999, the army is playing such an incredibly direct role in our elections,” he said.

The Report From Rivers State Is Worrying – Situation Room Convener

Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo

 

The Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, says the report of violence in Rivers State is worrying.

He stated this on Saturday during an interview on Channels Television’s News At Ten.

“It’s been a tense political environment. The campaigns and the rhetoric have been sometimes very harsh, and this has led to the violence that we have seen already.

“When we released that report sometime in the late afternoon, the numbers of incidents have increased and reports, particularly from Rivers, is worrying,” he stated

Nwankwo also condemned the reported cases of violence that trailed some polling units in Lagos, thereby calling for peace in subsequent elections.

READ ALSO: Seven Killed As Hoodlums ‘Ambush’ Troops In Rivers

While regretting that most Nigerians were unable to cast their votes, he called for the reduction of anxiety and tension that comes with the nation’s polls.

“I really think that this election should not come with so much anxiety and so much tension. Elections in Nigeria should not really be conducted with so much tension and violence around it,” he added.

Speaking on the arrest made during the election, he stated that some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were quizzed by the security agencies for trying to disrupt the electoral process.

His comments come a few hours after seven people lost their lives in Abonnema, Akuku Toru Local Government Area (LGA) Rivers State.

The unfortunate incident occurred following a clash between troops of the Nigerian army and hoodlums in the state.

Situation Room Decries Reports Of Deaths, Vote Buying During President, NASS Elections

Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo

 

The Nigerian Civil Society Room has decried reports of death and vote buying during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the group which is monitoring the elections said it had received reports that a total of 16 persons were killed across eight states during the exercise.

Six people were killed in the southern state of Rivers, which has long been a flashpoint for violence, while two others were killed in neighbouring Bayelsa.

Two people were killed in Borno and Yobe states in the northeast; two in the north-central state of Kogi; and two in Ebonyi, in the southeast.

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One person was killed in Zamfara, in the northwest, and another in Lagos, in the southwest, which also saw ballot boxes and papers set on fire, the monitors said.

The group also noted that there were reports of vote-buying in six states – Lagos, Niger, Edo, Kwara, Kano and Katsina.

It, however, thanked Nigerians for defying the various challenges just to exercise their civic responsibility.

The group also called on INEC to do everything to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised and address the outstanding logistical challenges.

The Situation In Rivers Is Worrying, Says Situation Room Convener

The Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Mr Clement Nwankwo, is concerned about reports of violence from parts of the country during the Presidential and National Assembly elections, especially from Rivers State.

“It’s been a tense political environment. The campaigns and the rhetoric have been sometimes very harsh, and this has led to the violence that we have seen already,” Mr Nwankwo told Channels TV on Saturday night.

“(Since) we released that report (interim statement on the elections) in the late afternoon, the numbers of incidents have increased and report, particularly from Rivers, is worrying.”

Nwankwo also condemned reported cases of violence at some polling units in Lagos, and called for peace in subsequent elections.

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While regretting that many Nigerians were unable to cast their votes, he stressed that there was the need to reduce anxiety and tension that comes with the nation’s polls.

“I really think that this election should not come with so much anxiety and so much tension. Elections in Nigeria should not really be conducted with so much tension and violence around it,” he added.

Speaking on the arrests made during the election, he stated that some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were quizzed by the security agencies for trying to disrupt the electoral process.

Elections: Army Releases Situation Room Hotlines

 

The Nigerian Army (NA) has released hotlines to its Situation Room from where electoral activities will be monitored.

According to as statement by the army the creation of its situation is in pursuant of its mandate to help create a secure and enabling environment for the conduct of the 2019 General Elections.

The army said its situation room would be operating  24/7 and urged the general public to forward genuine information on security related matters as may arise during the elections period to the numbers provided.

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The army also noted that the public could utilize the NA Information Call Center short code 193 from any Nigerian network or the NA iReport platform on https://army.mil.ng/ .

NEDG/BON Debate ‘An Opportunity For Citizens To Understand Those Seeking Their Mandate’ – Nwankwo

 

The Convener of the Civil Societies Situation Room, Mr Clement Nwankwo, has called for “increased democracy” in the country and explained why the importance of debates in the build-up to elections.

Nwankwo made the call on Friday in a short speech at the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON)’s Vice-Presidential Debate.

He said, “We are delighted to be supporting this debate because we think it is important for citizens to understand those who are seeking to understand those who are seeking their votes.

The importance of citizens being able to make a decision regarding who governs them is the ultimate goal of democracy.”

Nwankwo, who noted that the country had practiced democracy since 1999, explained that increased democracy will ensure that leaders have legitimacy.

He continued: “We demand increased democracy which means that those who are seeking our mandate, should only be able to govern us because they have earned our votes and that is why we are especially delighted that this debate is happening this evening.

“It’s an opportunity for citizens to understand those who are seeking their mandate, what it is they seek to do for the citizens, for the country to lift us from where we are to greater heights.”

Clement Nwankwo at the BON/NEDG Vice-Presidential Debate

 

With just over two months left before Nigeria’s general elections, Nwankwo said it was important for the votes of Nigerian alone to determine the winners of the elections.

“This country has incredible potentials, we have incredible human resources and we believe that those who are seeking to rule us, to govern this country should be a manifestation of the deep level of incredible human resources that this country has,” he said.

“Nigerians are listening, and we are hoping that the votes of Nigerians only will be what determines who governs us.”

#AnambraDecides: Politicians Bribed Voters Openly, Says Situation Room

The Convener of Election Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo has alleged that the Saturday’s Anambra Election was characterised with open votes buying as politicians openly bribed voters during the election.

Speaking in Awka, the state capital, Nwankwo said the election was relatively peaceful but the most striking thing was the situation of votes-buying where huge amount of money was spent by politicians to lure voters.

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“The most striking with the election is the huge amount of money that’s been spent by the political parties openly bribing voters at the polling units. Some spent as much as N5,000 – N6,000 to pay for a single vote,” he said.

The election room convener, who lamented over the situation of open buying of votes saying it is really disappointing and an abuse of electoral process, however applauded the police for being responsive.

“This is really unprecedented in terms of the amount of money spent buying votes of citizens and it is really disappointing to see this level of abuse of electoral process and the abuse on the limit of expenditure.

“The police have been very responsive. Places where incidents have occurred, they have been prompt to react and nip some incidents in the bud. Unfortunately, the police have not been wide spread as we thought. They had promised 26,000 police personnel; I don’t think we had 26,000 police personnel on ground.’’

Late Arrival Of Materials Causes Setback As #AnambraDecides

He also applauded the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) for the responses to the cases of card readers malfunction recorded.

‘’There were few cases of card readers malfunction but the response from INEC has been very good. There has been incidents of ballot box snatching but the number have been limited and I think that the fear about police over policing has been seriously minimised.

Despite few cases of officials making away with ballot papers and election materials including officials turning up late, Nwankwo said the election was “relatively peaceful.”

April 11 Polls: EU Observers, Civil Groups Recommend Probe In Violent States

April 11The European Union observation mission and some civil society groups have called for a probe of severe cases of violence and attempted manipulation in Saturday’s elections in some states.

The EU Chief Observer, Mr Santiago Fisas, said that despite lack of evidence of centralised systematic fraud at the polls, some attempts at manipulations were observed which necessitate further investigations by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

For the Coordinator of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Mr Clement Nwankwo, multiple cases of electoral misconducts in Abia, violence in Rivers State and partisan interference in Akwa-ibom call for scrutiny of final collated results from the three states.