One of the accredited observers by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, Connected Development (CODE), on Thursday, commended the commission for ensuring that the will of Nigerians prevailed.
CODE, a civil society organisation, hailed the commission for remaining firm despite pressures from political actors to truncate the electoral process.
Head of Mission, CODE Election Observation Team, Hamzat Lawal, stated these in Abuja on Thursday, during the presentation of findings by Uzabe, a real-time web based map situation technology used by CODE to gather real time security intelligence and observed the electoral process during the elections.
Lawal appealed to opposition political parties and other stakeholders to act responsibly and pursue peaceful and legal resolution of their grievances.
He said: “We commend INEC for allowing the will of the people to be heard and for remaining firm on her duty regardless of pressure from political actors that want to truncate the electoral process.
“We urge citizens to support INEC, particularly the Resident Electoral Commissioners and they should come out enmasse to vote their candidate of choice for the gubernatorial elections.
“CODE hereby calls on opposition parties and other stakeholders to act responsibly, to pursue peaceful and legal resolution of their grievances and to uphold the integrity of the political and electoral process.”
Lawal said there was need to reform the electoral process in order to allow for diaspora voting.
He also called for the strengthening of the autonomy of the commission in order for INEC to provide more effective and objective electoral process.
“CODE suggest that in order to enhance confidence in the electoral process, INEC’s complete autonomy must be strengthened to ensure it provides more effective and objective electoral process.
“INEC must develop result-management process using competent and secure technology and must provide a more conducive environment for collating results in regions.
“INEC must introduce reforms that allow for Nigerians in the diaspora to vote the candidate of their choice.
“Under-age voting is a violation of the Nigerian constitution and it is prevalent in some regions of the country. INEC must work to curb this issue as it serves as an indictment on the credibility of election process and ultimately a threat to our democracy,” he said.
Lawal condemned election-based violence during the process.
“Security remain a prevalent challenge confronting the nation’s growth and electorates should not have to die or lose loved ones at the cost of participating in the electoral process.
“As an accredited observer, we are disheartened at the poor level of preparedness shown by the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a violence-free election, despite the week-long postponement of the election to allow for adequate logistics and security readiness,” he added.