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The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on Thursday challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission to avoid an abuse of the collation process, which, it alleged, was evident in the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 23.
While challenging the Commission to carry out “an effective and transparent collation of results with unfettered access to centres,” the organisation called on the Armed Forces to restrict themselves to the responsibilities as defined by INEC and the Electoral Act.
“INEC had committed not to yield to pressure from politicians seeking transfer of specific Resident Electoral Commissioners with replacements of amenable RECs to compromise the elections. We expect INEC to follow through with this commitment,” the group warned.
Situation Room said it expected that INEC and, indeed, all stakeholders in the electoral process would have taken lessons from the challenges of the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 23, 2019 and work towards delivering peaceful and credible state level elections.
The Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and Convener, NCSSR, Clement Nwankwo, tabled the demands in a preliminary statement on the governorship, state Assembly and FCT Area Council elections.
He said, “Situation Room also calls on INEC to limit the abuse in the collation process as happened on February 23, 2019, by taking steps to carry out an effective and transparent collation of results, open and with unfettered access to centres.
“INEC should also enforce the provisions of its guidelines that restrict the role of security agents to that of providing security for its officials, party agents and observers, rather than reported incidents in previous elections where security agents became active participants in collation and sometimes undermined it.
“Arising from the high number of cancelled votes, it is important that INEC clearly clarifies to voters the criteria for vote cancellations.”
While expressing concern over “the trend of increased and excessive involvement of the military and security officials in elections in Nigeria,” Situation Room said the concerns had mounted following the February 23 2019 elections.