The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), one of the accredited observers groups for this year’s presidential and National Assembly elections, has called for the probe of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), especially Residents electoral Commissioners (RECs) and others suspected to be involved in malpractices during the elections.
CTA Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi, made the call on Friday in Abuja at a press conference on the observation of the conduct of the elections.
According to her, INEC need to have the political will to purge itself of the foul impurities that have raised questions about its objectivity and impartiality in February 25 elections.
She also charged Nigerians, especially the youths, to keep up the march for a new Nigeria where due process would be followed for national development.
She urged aggrieved political parties and candidates to seek redress in courts and not heat up the polity by using inciting words that may lead to breach of peace.
“Some incidents during the election and thereafter leading to the collation and announcement of the Presidential election result have cast doubts on the transparency of the process leading to the emergence of a winner but the gains from this election cannot be wished away.
“This election’s deployed technology as its safeguard, and according to our observers, the ratio of challenges emanating from the BVAS was at 24 percent majorly from poor network leading to slowness of the BVAS, the inability of the BVAS to capture finger prints, wrong password, low batteries and the refusal of the presiding officers to upload results after elections at the polling units (PUs) claiming wrong codes among others.
“There were reports of tension from polling units arising from late arrival of personnel and materials, incomplete election materials, intimidation by party thugs, forced extension of voting hours, non-availability of result sheets, double voting by some persons, vote canvasing, undue assistance by party agents to aid voters thumb print, unnecessary hoarding of voting materials by ad hoc staff for unjust reasons, insufficient security and poor crowd control among others,” Nwadishi said.
She noted that Nigerians hoped on the promises made by INEC on different occasions that elections results will be transmitted via the BVAS in real time as was done in the last off-season elections.
She said, “To the disappointment of Nigerians, PUs results were not uploaded in real time at the end of elections and collations at the PUs as promised. INEC officials on the field claimed they had no codes to transmit the results and, in a statement, issued by INEC said that there were technical glitches.
“These explanations did not sway Nigerians from strongly believing that some of the staff of the electoral umpire were compromised. Some results that were uploaded were either mutilated or had people’s photographs and in fact, unreadable.
“The role of Resident Electoral Commissioners at this time should be interrogated as some of them are alleged to be partisan and in connivance with politicians to derail due process. You may recall that CTA and other CSOs condemned the appointment of some partisan RECs leading up to the election.
“It appears that these set of INEC officials habitually work at variance with set guidelines and orders from the INEC headquarters. It was alleged that they hoarded result sheets and gave them out to highest bidders who apparently used the result sheets to tamper with actual outcomes of polls from the polling units. It was also alleged that these same group of INEC staff hoarded the codes and access to the BVAS hence the non-transmission of results from the polling units as stipulated by law. This is unacceptable and should be discouraged.”
She lamented that security agencies watched to the consternation of citizens while election materials are destroyed, citizens bared from casting their votes and outright intimidation in Lagos and parts of Rivers states.
She also said that security agencies must investigate and prosecute its officers and men found wanting in the breach of electoral laws.
“INEC should as a matter of priority, set up an enquiry to investigate its staff especially some RECs, the Electoral Officers at the LGAs, supervisory presiding officers and dubious ad hoc staff. We ask that all those involved in electoral malpractice should be arrested, prosecuted and punished adequately, to serve as a deterrent,” Nwadishi said.