The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is under pressure to review the results of some state governorship elections held on March 18, 2023.
Three Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country have asked INEC to review the results of states such as Ogun, Kaduna, Enugu, and others where evidence of malpractice has been established.
The CSOs are Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Transparency International (TI), and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
In a report released on Thursday by their leader, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, the CSOs said INEC should review elections in states where allegations of violence, voter suppression, and vote buying were presented to it.
The organisations said the 2023 general elections turned out to be one of the most violence-ridden elections in the recent history of the country.
The report reads: “In the build-up to the elections, there were reports of voters’ suppression and intimidation with threats of consequences as issued by well-known loyalists of some highly ranked politicians in the country.
“The failure of the security operatives to apprehend and prosecute the issuant of such threats further emboldened them to unleash mayhem on citizens on election day.
“The gubernatorial elections were further challenged by incidents of voter apathy in many states across the country following diminished confidence in the electoral umpire as a result of the outcome of the presidential election. This becomes a major drawback on the nation’s electoral process considering the increasing spate of voter education in the country.”
The report said the failure of the police to respond to voter intimidation in the build-up to the elections emboldened political thuggery and election violence that permeated the governorship elections in Nigeria.
It added: “The police have the authority to stamp out these individuals no matter who they are connected to. The police must move to arrest those individuals and bring them to justice to serve as a deterrent in future elections.
“All arrested electoral offenders must be prosecuted in public knowledge while investigations continue to arrest those not in the police net yet. Furthermore, the sponsors of those thugs who unleashed mayhem on innocent Nigerians who only sort to express their constitutional guaranteed rights must be fished out and prosecuted in public knowledge.
“INEC must review all evidence of electoral malpractices presented before it. EFCC and ICPC should continue with their good work to reduce the commercialization of vote buying and arrest both the enablers, middlemen, and receivers during the upcoming elections.
“TMG commends INEC on lessons learned from the presidential poll which has been brought to improve the state elections. As seen from the efficient logistic deployment and functionality of the technological introductions, Nigeria’s electoral system has the potential to bring about credible elections, it is to the extent that the commission is allowed to independently manage the elections that hinders credible elections in the country. INEC must strive to eliminate human interference, especially with result management.”
Gists9ja understands that Section 65(c) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides a window of seven days for reversal of the declaration of results where a case of malpractice is established.