The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC must not accept or declare falsified results that are inconsistent with the actual results counted and declared at the polling units in the presence of all political party agents.
The position was made open by a Rights Group, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC in a reaction to Saturday’s elections.
The Executive Director of RULAAC, Dr Okechukwu Nwanguma, who spoke in a chat with TNC correspondent on Tuesday, said their observations and findings showed that the elections were blatantly violent, manipulated and subverted.
He cited the late arrival of election personnel and materials, resulting to late commencement of accreditation and voting in many polling booths, mass disenfranchisement, voter suppression in places like Lagos, Rivers State, Imo State, Bayelsa etc, as plans to sabotage the elections.
“RULAAC independently monitored the February 25, 2023 general elections. RULAAC also belongs to many election observation networks and has been receiving and sharing information from field observers.
“Our observations and findings from the 25th February 2023 presidential and federal legislative elections were shocking and differ significantly from what we had witnessed in past elections. Election has never been as blatantly violent, manipulated and subverted before as this election was.
“The earliest indication that there was a conspiracy to sabotage the election was the late arrival of election personnel and materials, resulting to late commencement of accreditation and voting in many polling booths. In many states, voting did not start until as late as 6 hours behind the official commencement time, and after some intending voters had left in frustration. In few places election did not hold at all.
“There was mass disenfranchisement in many places. There was voter suppression in places like Lagos, Rivers State, Imo State, Bayelsa etc, through intimidation, threats and violent attacks on voters and electoral officials, in many cases, leading to disruption of the voting process.
“We were shocked to see Nigerians intimidating and threatening fellow Nigerians and attempting to force them to vote in a particular direction. Several cases were reported in Lagos.
“Thugs acting on behalf of a particular political party were captured in video beating up voters for not voting according to their dictates; disrupting the voting process, carting away ballot boxes, destroying ballot papers, abducting electoral officials and falsifying election results.
“In states such as Lagos, Edo, Imo, Anambra, Bayelsa, among others, electoral bandits shot into the crowd of voters, killing and injuring many. In none of the cases we witnessed or received information about did security agents intervene to stop the violence or arrest the violators. In some cases, security agents were part of the violence.
“There is a surfeit of video evidence.
“Many daredevil and brazen acts of violence and violation of the Electoral Act were captured in video including situations in many polling booths where some Presiding Officers refused to upload results despite demands by voters who refused to go away but determined to stay back late into the night to protect their votes.
“Many electoral officials were caught in brazen and shameless acts of election rigging,” the group said.
The group said it was more reassuring, to see the resilience and determination of Nigerians – youths, women, people living with disabilities, and indeed, millions of Nigerians who are fed up with a failed system, desirous of change, and determined to contribute to bringing about that change through their votes.
Nwanguma however regretted that desperate and demonic politicians with their misguided agents took criminal and subversive steps to scuttle and undermine the aspirations of Nigerians.
He also alleged security agencies complicity in the sharp practices.
The RULAAC boss called on the INEC to do the needful to ensure that the people’s confidence reposed in them is not betrayed.
Nwanguma said; “There is the need to investigate why police officers stood by and did nothing while these crimes were being committed. Although police officers on election duty at polling units are not permitted to carry arms, but they are required to call for armed patrol teams to intervene in situations of violence or acts capable of disrupting elections as were widely witnessed.
“INEC must ensure that all electoral officials involved in electoral malpractices are brought to account in accordance with the Electoral Act.
“INEC must ensure it does not accept or declare falsified results that are inconsistent with the actual results counted and declared at the polling units in the presence of all political party agents.”
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