PDP Presidential candidate and main opposition leader Atiku Abubakar (C) leaves the polling station with his wife Amina Titilayo Atiku-Abubakar (R) after casting their votes at Agiya polling station in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria on February 23, 2019, as voting commenced in the presidential election. – Nigerians began voting for a new president on February 23 after a week-long delay that has raised political tempers, sparked conspiracy claims and stoked fears of violence. Some 120,000 polling stations began opening from 0700 GMT, although there were indications of a delay in the delivery of some materials and deployment of staff, AFP reporters said. (Photo by Luis TATO / AFP)
Agence France-Presse

A group, Initiative to Save Democracy, has given a pass mark on the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, describing it as “largely peaceful.”

The group also praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the polls, saying the electoral body has redeemed its battered image.

The group in a statement on Tuesday and signed by its convener, Sunday Akinloye James, also commended the huge voter turnout across the country.

It further commended the Nigeria police and other security agencies stationed in polling units across the country, saying the security agencies were largely able to maintain peaceful conduct in a majority of polling units and, “also restored peace in areas that had outbreaks of violence.”

The statement reads in part: “We want to express our satisfaction at the just concluded February 23rd Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives election held across the 36states of the federation.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has indeed done a great job in ensuring a successful election without any interference from government and international agents.

“However, we observed that there are were challenges experienced across the country during the elections: the late delivery of materials and arrival of polling officials in some places, violence in some areas and activities of thugs.

“Against all odds, arrival of electoral materials at units was still recorded at over 80%.

“An item we believe must be improved on is communication by INEC to members of the public and major stakeholders as this will further project their institution as transparent, uncompromised, unbiased and credible.

“It is safe to say that INEC has redeemed its almost battered image by successfully conducting a difficult election with 71 Presidential candidates on the ballot, the difficulty that arises from this abundance of candidates cannot be overemphasized.”

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