The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) allegedly lacked transparency when holding the gubernatorial and state assembly elections last Saturday, according to the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM).
In its second preliminary statement on Monday, the EU EOM noted that “the institution continues to lack transparency” and that the elections were marred by incidents of voter intimidation, vote-buying, and thuggery, particularly in the states of Lagos and Kano.
Nonetheless, numerous instances of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and media disrupted voting on election day, the foreign mission reported on Monday. The southern and central states—Lagos, Kano, and others—were the hardest hit. Regrettably, there were a lot of injuries and deaths. Vote-buying, which was also directly observed by EU EOM observers, made the elections’ proper conduct even worse.
Barry Andrews, the chief observer, claimed that Nigerians who had previously demonstrated a strong desire in carrying out their civic obligations had become disinterested in doing so after experiencing disappointment.
“During the tour, we observed that Nigerians are eager to participate in many civic activities and have a strong desire for democracy. Yet, these aspirations were not fulfilled in many areas of the nation. Many people were unhappy, and we saw voter indifference, which is partially the obvious result of mistakes made by political elites and, regrettably, also by INEC, Mr. Andrews said.
The EU emphasized that planned violent acts in multiple countries before the election damaged voters’ confidence in their capacity to exercise their right to vote in a safe environment.
In many regions of the country, voting efforts were hampered by insecurity, and organized violent acts just before elections in several states created a tense climate, according to the statement. The EU EOM did note that INEC delivered crucial materials on time during the governorship elections, which the EU EOM said demonstrated that INEC had addressed its shortcomings from the presidential elections.