Commonwealth observers share initial findings on Nigeria elections (25.02.2019)

The Commonwealth Group observed followed the pre-election campaign, voting, counting and collation processes.

LONDON, United Kingdom, February 25, 2019 – The Commonwealth Group observing Nigeria’s general election has concluded that despite difficulties faced during the vote, “for the most part, Nigerians had the opportunity to express their will and exercise their franchise.”

In its Interim Statement released today, the Group called on political parties to reject violence, while also commending the people of Nigeria for their commitment to democracy, including positive steps taken for women and youth participation in politics.

“Election-related violence and loss of life, which occurred in a number of places, is deeply troubling. Nigeria can do better. Violence has no place in a modern democracy,” stated Chairperson Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania, noting that several reports of violence were received by the Group. “Those responsible should be held accountable. We encourage all political parties to honour their commitments in the National Peace Accord and reject violence.”
 
The Group welcomed the signing of the National Peace Accord, and noted that while the campaign environment was tense and divisive, overall, “fundamental freedoms of association, expression, assembly and movement were generally respected”.

On polling day, Commonwealth observes witnessed a number of key challenges, including delays in the distribution of election materials, late opening of polling units, technical problems with Smart Card Readers, and inconsistency in polling procedures.

The Group also noted that 11.2 million Permanent Voter Cards (required for voting) out of 84 million were not collected. Consequently, more than 13 percent of all registered voters could not vote.

Notwithstanding the challenges, Commonwealth observers were impressed by the hard work and dedication of polling staff. They commended the youth of Nigeria, especially the National Youth Service Corps, for their invaluable contribution to the electoral process. They welcomed the passing of the Not Too Young To Run Act in 2018, as a significant first step to enable youth participation, and noted some progress in the number of female political candidates. The Group encouraged stronger action to promote genuine inclusion.

“We trust that the final stages of collation and announcement of results will be handled in a transparent and credible manner,” said Dr. Kikwete. “The people of Nigeria have demonstrated patience and commitment to their democracy. We appeal to them to maintain the same commitment in the post-election period.”
 
The Commonwealth Group observed followed the pre-election campaign, voting, counting and collation processes. The Group’s full assessment on the electoral process as a whole, setting out its recommendations in greater detail, will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General at a later stage.

Building Blocks for Peace Foundation: Press Statement on the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections in Nigeria (25.02.2019)

Nigeria: YIAGA Africa – Preliminary Statement on the 2019 Presidential Election (24.02.2019)

Nigeria: YIAGA Africa – Press Statement on Set-Up of Polling Units (23.02.2019)

Nigeria: WANEP – Press Release – Election Day (23.02.2019)

Nigeria: YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote Statement on INEC’s Prepardness for the Resheduled Election and WTV Deployment Plan (21.02.2019)

Nigeria: CITAD – Press Statement – We Condemn President Muhammadu Buhari’s Comments on Ballot Box Snatching (19.02.2019)

Nigeria: INEC Okays Respumption of Political Campaigns (18.02.2019)

UNOWAS: Statement by the SRSG Mohamed Ibn Chambas on the eve of Nigerian elections (15.02.2019)

Opinion: Nigerian Elections in 2019, is this another 419?

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”Otto von Bismark

Well, again, just like in previous elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed hours in advance of the supposed polls for the General Election, which was supposed to happen today in Nigeria. The INEC have postponed it until the 23rd February 2019. That is just another week.

I’m not awaiting a Nigerian Prince offering a big million price, if the International Community sends money to finalize the operations of this General Election. The INEC surely has their reasons. They did the same in 2015, when the scheduled elections was supposed to be held on the 14th February 2015, but instead was done on the 28th March 2015. This was the elections for the National Assembly and Presidential Elections. The other polls was on other dates, but held later, than previously broadcast. Therefore, the Nigerians has seen this before. Like it also saw in 2011, when on the eve of the National Assembly Election on the 2nd April 2011, the INEC postpone the elections, which was scheduled for 2nd April and 9th April for the Presidential Election. These was postpone to the 9th April 2011 and 16th April 2011. They we’re doing the same they did today. Postpone the elections one week on the eve of the General Elections. This is a tactic and staged affair. Clearly, they are doing the same as they have done before. Since, they have prepared it all, but still has to postpone the polls.

As we havvev seen it before, we can wonder if this a 419 from the INEC. If they are rigging or fixing the results and needs more time. As I have even seen spreadsheet of results of the 2019 Elections. They are surely not proclaimed or the real deal, but that initiate speculations and questionable affairs behind the scenes.

That the incumbent President Buhari states this too, doesn’t help the concerned: “I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement. Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered. INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them. This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission” (Buhari, 16.02.2019).

While he was busy stating that, others had this to say: “Events surrounding the postponement of the Nigerian presidential elections previously scheduled for today February 16, 2019 is confirmation that IPOB decision to lift the boycott was a masterstroke that took the cabal by surprise. The move by IPOB apex leadership to call off the boycott made it virtually impossible for Jubril and his handlers to proceed to rig the elections on the account that IPOB boycotted the polls. It is now clear for the world to see that some nefarious elements within the corridors of power in Aso Rock wanted so desperately for IPOB to boycott these elections in order to justify their already perfected script that our boycott made it possible for them to emerge victorious. By calling off the boycott, Jubril and his cabal lost the initiative and were headed straight for defeat” (IPOB – ‘IPOB Press Statement: The Fear Of IPOB Is The Beginning Of Wisdom’ 16.02.2019).

Also, the Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) stated this: “At about 0250 hours today, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the postponement of the 2019 general elections by one week. This was announced in a short press briefing by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman. The announcement came just a few hours to the opening of polls. You may recall of similar postponement by 5 weeks towards the 2015 general elections.

The reasons for the postponement according to the INEC Chairman is based on logistical reasons which should be reviewed and the need to conduct a free, fair and credible elections and consequently, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on the 23rd of February, 2019 while governorship, state houses of assembly and FCT Council elections will now hold on the 9th of March 2019. CTA recognises that this is not the best of times for INEC, the Civil Society and citizens who have invested time and resources to make this election happen. In our opinion, this postponement is in the best interest of the country rather than having staggered elections which would not have guaranteed a free, fair and credible election. We note the challenges that INEC has to surmount such as; the recent burning of INEC offices and materials in some parts of the country and reports of disappearance of sensitive materials, deployment of adhoc staff, and other such challenges that would have marred the credibility and outcome of the 2019 general elections. We urge all stakeholders to remain calm and not be deterred by this necessary set back towards getting it right. CTA recalls that” (ISDMG, 16.02.2019)-

While Buhari is sorry for the inconvinence is sparks by postponing it. The IPOB says this stops the possible charade and rigging machine of him. While the ISDMG thinks this secures the logistics and procedural needs for the upcoming elections. The stark contrast between the President, Opposition of Biafra and the Civil Society is striking. They are living worlds apart, but sharing the same news from the Electoral Body. That is very unique and special. They are all receiving the same news and statements from the INEC, but they are seeing it with a whole different perspective.

There is also statements going back and fourth between the Presidents own Party the APC who claims the PDP is up to something, while the PDP claims the APC is up to something. We all know what that something is, that is the rule of thumb, which in this instance is the famous electoral rigging. Securing a victory without counting the ballots properly or announcing the real results. But announcing and proclaiming forged results in your favour. That is what the APC Party does and what the PDP are doing too.

Which is why a person like me, an total outsider, wonder if this whole is just another 419. Another scam. Another play for the gallery to get legitimacy and secure the man in-charge. To get the validated post and office and screw over the citizens. That all parties are just playing along. Awaiting their pay-check and possible kick-backs, while the citizens are made a fool. However, that is just me. Carry-on, please, Peace.