586 views | Stanley Ugagbe | May 29, 2021
The Electoral Hub, an organ of the Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD) has strongly condemned the series of attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across the nation.
Recall that as of Monday 24 May 2021, it was reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices in 14 states have been attacked a total of 41 times since the 2019 general elections.
Reports have it that these attacks have been attributed to election-related violence, protests unrelated to elections, and activities of thugs and unknown gunmen/hoodlums.
Reacting to the ill developments, the group in a statement by its Founder and Team Leader, Princess Hamman-Obels, while decrying the actions, said such attacks hinder the ability of INEC to effectively conduct presidential, governorship, legislative, and other elections it is mandated to carry out.
“This was evident in the postponement of the senatorial district and federal constituency by-elections as a result of the attack on INEC offices during the protests in 2020”.
The Electoral Hub had earlier commended INEC for its role in the success of the Edo and Ondo State governorship elections.
“Some of the notable inventions of INEC in this electoral cycle are the introduction of a results viewing portal to enable citizens monitor election results in real time from anywhere in the world, the use of a virtual situation room to remotely monitor elections, training of ad-hoc staff on how to conduct elections during the pandemic, paying assessment visits to local offices to ensure preparedness for the elections, engaging with various stakeholders, and conducting peace interventions to de-escalate tensions prior to elections.
“In 2021, INEC also commendably created a Gender and Inclusivity Department, which is aimed at promoting the inclusion of marginalised groupssuch as women, youth, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the electoral process.
“Given this extensive work of the Commission, it is unfortunate that there have been attacks on its offices. Such attacks prevent INEC from carrying out its constitutional mandate to organise, undertake, and supervise elections. This in turn poses risks to the health and stability of our democracy.
“We therefore strongly call for a stop to these attacks on INEC offices. We appeal to security agencies to detect and prevent these crimes, civil society organisations to educate communities on the consequences of these attacks, and the general public to desist from such attacks.
“As the 2023 general elections are fast approaching, INEC requires all the support it can get to conduct free, fair, and peaceful elections. If we want to have elections with integrity and credibility, we must all play our parts in creating a safe and secure environment”.
It is important to note that The Electoral Hub is aimed at strengthening electoral governance and accountability in Nigeria through the provision of data, critical and contextualised analysis and solutions to improve the credibility and integrity of the electoral process.