Friday, April 18, 2014

Anambra poll had ‘serious’ shortcomings, election monitoring body says

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TMG commended INEC for the vote collation process.

The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, an accredited election monitor, has decried the “serious” shortcomings in the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.

In its post-election report published in Abuja, Monday, the group said that the election was riddled with late arrival of election materials, widespread late delivery of electoral materials, and in some areas, simultaneous accreditation and voting.

The group, however, lauded the conduct of the supplementary election, held last Saturday, despite the “very low” voter turnout.

TMG stated that it deployed 633 citizen observers across the three senatorial districts in the 21 local government areas of the state.

“As of 7:30 a.m., observers reported that only 39 per cent of polling units across the state had their election materials and by 9 a.m., only 43 per cent of polling units were able to open.”

“When materials finally arrived, at 58 per cent of polling units observers reported two polling officials; at 38 percent of polling units three or more polling officials were present; while at just 4 per cent of polling units there was only one polling official present,” the group said in a statement.

“The widespread late delivery of election materials delayed the start of accreditation of voters across the state. TMG observers reported that as at 12:00 noon of November 16, about 60 percent of polling units had not received accreditation materials,” it added.

There were also simultaneous accreditation and voting – individuals being allowed to accredit and vote after accreditation had closed – which created the possibility of illegal voting, the group noted.

“At 28 per cent of polling units, 50 or more people were accredited during voting.”

“Individuals with voter’s cards were refused accreditation – at 19 per cent of polling units, between 6 and 25 people with voter’s cards were denied accreditation, for whatever reason and could not vote.”

“A significant number of voters who left polling units after accreditation did not return to vote – at 31 per cent of polling units, the number of accredited voters exceeded the number of actual voters by more than 10 per cent.”

“At 52 per cent of polling units, observers reported four or more political party agents; at 39 per cent of polling units, there were one to three political party agents present, while 9 per cent of polling units had no agents from any party present.”

Though it frowned at the irregularities that trailed the November 16 election, TMG hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for its proper collation of the election result.

“Based on the Quick Count methodology, the TMG can confidently verify that the collation process was done properly and the official results as announced by INEC on November 30th, 2013 accurately reflect the votes cast on Election Day (16th November 2013) and on the supplementary election (held on 30th November, 2013),” the group said.

TMG urged INEC to continue to announce and publish results at polling units to make later manipulation very difficult.

It also called for an immediate turn around in attitude, by Anambra people, towards future elections and other civic responsibilities.

“The observed widespread voter apathy in Anambra is worrisome and portends danger to the growth of our democracy,” it said.

“TMG lays the blame on the people of Anambra state for exhibiting such civic negligence which allowed less than 26 percent of the registered voters to determine the fate and leadership of a state of over 3 million people.

“INEC must hold accountable and bring to book those responsible for the failures recorded during the conduct of elections in some polling units, particularly in Idemili North.

“TMG calls on INEC to live up to its responsibility as it goes into preparation for Ekiti and Osun states elections, and of course 2015 general elections. We must realize that Nigerian people are tired of excuses bothering on logistical short comings affecting the conduct of elections,” the group added.

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