CLEEN Foundation has commended the Adamawa state acting governor, for the peaceful and orderly conduct of the state gubernatorial elections against the backdrop of political tensions and general insecurity prevailing in Northern Nigeria.
Eban Ebai, deputy director programmes, who spoke to journalists on the activities of CLEEN foundation on the conduct of security officials during the Adamawa state gubernatorial election said the organisation was pleased with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies, and the people of Adamawa state over their roles in the success of the gubernatorial polls. The group also commended the acting governor Ahmadu Fintiri for making the provision of security and upholding a peaceful election as its focus.
He said although there were challenges in the build-up to the elections such as the issue of insecurity but the outcome contrasted with the forecast that there could be “possible challenges to the peaceful conduct of the election”.
“First, the state’s history of ethnic and religious tensions was worsened by the recent sectarian killings which resulted in the imposition of a curfew in the state. Second, the popularity of the three leading candidates and the followership they command across the Northern and Southern parts of the state. Third, the high level of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy among a large number of youths makes them vulnerable to manipulation. Fourth, there are a significant number of influential politicians in state who could influence the outcome of the polls,” Dr. Eban said.
He further stated that another source of worry before the election was, “the fractionalization in the ruling party in the state and removal of the incumbent governor” which it noted could have increased the desperation to try and manipulate the electoral process.
The foundation described the Elections as ‘the best election that would be conducted by INEC and said the recent concluded Adamawa gubernatorial elections witnessed a marked improvement from the Kogi elections.
“We congratulate INEC, the Nigeria police force and other security agencies, and the people of Adamawa state for the peaceful conduct the elections,” the statement by Mr Ebai said.
The group however noted that despite adequate security measures to assure voters of their safety, it still observed that voter’s turnout remained below the 50% half mark, with only a 37% turn out of registered voters. The CLEEN Foundation’s preliminary statement on the election on Saturday said that security agents lived up to their constitutional provision as there were marked improvements also on their conduct in the election. The report made some recommendations, urging INEC to focus in improving the capacity of its ad hoc staff and offering them very clear instructions and training on managing procedural irregularities and possible conflict situations.
It further observed that even though there were instances where security agencies were successful in dealing with some conflict situation, there were others it completely failed. Hence it tasked the government to strengthen security officials on how to manage conflict situations, suggesting that they partner civil society groups in this regard.