By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
Following cases of harassment witnessed in the just-concluded bye-elections into fifteen senatorial and state constituencies, YIAGA Africa has said that the incident has yet again reignited the need to prioritise electoral reforms to tackle some challenges bedevilling Nigeria’s election especially the need to ensure adequate prosecution of electoral offenders.
Yiaga in a statement signed by its Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu, maintained electoral reforms will provide legal authority to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to further consolidate on the recent innovations introduced to improve the process while also strengthening its independence.
According to Mbamalu, achieving electoral reforms to fix Nigeria’s elections and ensure an electoral process that inspires citizens confidence will require broad-based support, stakeholder’s collaboration and political will by the political class.
She noted that the body
received ten verified incident reports, mostly from Imo and Zamfara States, which she said included: “Intimidation and harassment of voters, poll officials and party agents, disruption of results collation process, destruction of election materials, assault on the secrecy of the ballot, interference by party agents, as well as ballot box snatching and see.”
She commended the voters who came out to vote in all the polling units in the respective LGA’s in the 11 states were the bye-elections were conducted, maintaining that, despite attempts to disrupt the process by some political thugs, voters remained peaceful during the voting and counting process.
Mbamalu also commended INEC for the efforts to maintain consistency in the deployment of technology in elections in Nigeria and called on it to ensure proper reviews and updates required to ensure full biometric accreditation of voters before the next rounds of elections.
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