#NigeriaDecides: Statement by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on commencement of 2015 national elections

FILE PHOTO: Voters in Oyo

Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room welcomes the commencement of Nigeria’s Presidential and National Assembly elections 2015, after a six-week postponement. It is of vital importance that all stages of the elections be conducted in a manner that will not only confer legitimacy on the elections but also generate confidence in the elections among the electorate. In this regard we wish to draw urgent attention to four areas of challenges: (1) late arrival of officials and election materials; (2) the process of accreditation; (3) logistical lapses; and (4) isolated security incidences.

Late arrival of officials and election materials

The Situation Room observes that logistics were a challenge in a number of places leading to relative late arrival of officials and election materials. Overall, there was delayed and slow commencement of the accreditation process.

Accreditation process

Accreditation of voters commenced in many polling stations, with minimum challenges. However, in some polling stations the accreditation process was delayed by difficulties in verification of voters using the card readers.

Logistical lapses

The Situation Room notes serious lapses leading to the postponement of elections into all of the 11 House of Representatives Constituencies in Jigawa State and one similar Constituency in Edo State, and the rescheduling of the elections already in progress in one local government area in Imo State.

Security incidents

The Situation Room received reports of numerous incidents of security breaches some of which involved a measure of violenceleading to deaths.

The Situation Room calls on the public to remain patient and maintain their high level of commitment to participate the electoral process. We urge them to remain orderly and law abiding and to refrain from any actions that may further challenge the electoral process. We urge the public to cooperate with the relevant authorities and to report any action capable of undermining the electoral process to the appropriate authorities and civic organizations.

The Situation Room appeals to the security agencies to take measures to ensure that the electoral process proceed smoothly, and to do this with restraint. We expect the security officials to do their work within the ambit of the law and without bias.

The Situation Room calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence immediate steps to rectify all operational and logistics lapses identified, and where elections have been postponed, these lapses should not be allowed to recur. We urge INEC and its staff to maintain the highest standards of professionalism in the conduct of the remaining parts of the general elections.

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