Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the governorship and senatorial elections that took place in Kogi State at the weekend.
It said the call was necessitated due to a high level of violence and electoral malpractices that took place during the election in the state.
The Situation Room also expressed disappointment with the conduct of the governorship election in Bayelsa State, which it said fell below standards.
In its preliminary report on the assessment of the just concluded elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, the civil society coalition called for serious investigation into alleged cases of vote buying, involvement of security personnel in vote snatching and other forms of security breaches.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on the conduct of Bayelsa and Kogi elections, the Convener of the Civil Society Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, described the elections as a great setback to Nigeria’s electoral democracy.
“With particular reference to the elections in Kogi State, the levels of violence perpetrated by the two major political parties and politicians, evident sometimes in the collusion with security personnel, seriously undermined the elections, deterred voters and made the exercise a farce. Accordingly, Situation Room is calling for the entire cancellation of Kogi State elections conducted on Saturday, November 16,” he said.
He added that Kogi State election represented a major dent on Nigeria’s democratic process.
While presenting the preliminary report of the group, Nwankwo said its observers recounted incidents where security personnel deployed to monitor the election stood by watching thugs snatching ballot boxes, unleashing violence and disrupting the electoral process in Kogi State.
Speaking on the conduct of the election in Bayelsa State, Nwankwo said there were serious lapses with a high level of violence perpetrated by political parties in collusion with security personnel. With regard to vote buying, Nwankwo said Bayelsa State presented a new dimension of ‘community voting’ a practice whereby political parties controlling a particular area compelled overwhelming votes in its favour.
Situation Room said in the light of security failures, violence, thuggery and general abuses witnessed in the elections, there’s an urgent need for the passage and implementation of an Electoral Offences Commission law to address the issues related to electoral abuse.