The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room has demanded for audit of polling units of last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly general elections.
The Civil Society asserted that the process cannot be considered to have been credible.
The group that knocked the Independent National Electoral Commission over the elections said the exercise was marred by very poor organisation, severe logistical and operational failure, lack of essential electoral transparency, substantial disruption of voting, and several incidents of violence.
It explained that the ills of electioneering in Nigeria would have been largely dealt with and corrected so that Nigerians would have experienced a credible and valid election.
The statement read, “The Situation Room’s observation and analysis of the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections indicates that it fell short of the credibility threshold it set out as basis for evaluating the elections. Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, the Situation Room launched its Credibility Threshold for the 2023 General Election, which was shared with Election Stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“The Threshold document outlined twelve criteria as minimum requirements for evaluating the credibility of the elections. Among the criteria are reform of the electoral legal framework, efficient and accountable election management, and effective monitoring of political parties and the campaign process.
“The Situation Room expected that the innovative reforms introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in furtherance of the new Electoral Act 2022, will lead to efficient and accountable election management, including improved access to polling units, hitch-free accreditation and voting, accurate and transparent results collation, and effective violence mitigation.
“Contrary to the above expectations, the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections were marred by very poor organization, severe logistical and operational failure, lack of essential electoral transparency, substantial disruption of voting, and several incidents of violence. As a result, the process cannot be considered to have been credible.
“Given the lack of transparency, particularly in the result collation process, there can be no confidence in the results of these elections. In addition, there was very poor communication from INEC on election day and on its challenges with its processes; its citizens contact numbers did not work and even when there were challenges with uploads to the INEC Results Viewing (iReV) Portal.
“This is all the more disappointing since the elections were held in an atmosphere in which the people showed remarkable commitment to democracy, eagerly engaging in the electoral process and waiting patiently to vote in very difficult circumstances.
“In the light of the shortcomings outlined in this interim statement, the Situation Room calls on INEC to provide details of the process leading up to the results it collated for the elections. Situation Room demands that INEC provides information on why its promise to improve the transparency of the collation process through the introduction of the iReV Portal performed below expectation.
“Situation Room further demands that INEC conducts an audit of polling units where elections did not take place to establish the reasons for the failure. Situation Room also calls on INEC to note that public confidence in its capacity to run elections is gravely shaken, and that it would require extraordinary efforts for trust to be re-established,” the group added.