The Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) has offered to train Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) workers in order to ensure an efficient election process.
Furthermore, NIDO urged INEC and other key election stakeholders to act quickly to address flaws discovered in the February 25, 2023 election in order to improve the conduct of future elections, particularly the upcoming March 11th Governorship and States Assembly elections.
According to the organization, this would help to restore voter trust in the electoral process and INEC.
Dr. Bashir Obasekola, chairman of NIDO for Europe and America, highlighted INEC’s mistakes in the recently concluded election and blamed them in large part on the “tardiness of INEC officials.”
The organization’s submission on the February 23 election and its recommendations read:
NIDO Worldwide deployed observers to polling units in some selected towns and locations in different States and geopolitical zones of the country. These include Lagos, Ogun, Enugu, Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Edo states, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Of the polling units observed nationwide, it was a mixture of punctuality and lateness in the opening and start of the voting exercise. The tardiness of INEC officials was largely responsible for the lateness in the commencement of voting in many of these places. At all the polling units we observed, polling officials and materials did not arrive at the scheduled commencement time of 8.30 AM.
For example, in Jos South and Bokkos LGAs of Jos, Plateau State, with the earliest recorded at 9:30 AM and the latest at 11:30 AM. The affected polling units include Takai 1 (002), Takai 2 (011), Primary School, Kunet (004), Mabel (011) and Bokkos Butura Government Girls College (015). Ditto for PU 025 in Oshimili LGA of Delta State opposite Asaba Specialist Hospital) where INEC officials showed up at 11:18 AM.
At Chevron 087 in Lekki, PU 105 (Carlton Estate) and PU 106 (Northern Foreshore) in Lagos State, INEC officials arrived between 10:10 AM and 12 noon. Our observers also reported that INEC officials arrived late at PU 060 at Mechanic Village near Redemption Camp and PU 11 at the palace of Olugbein Obafemi Owode Local Government, Ogun State, where voting did not commence until midday…
The organization’s statement added;
It was however observed that in Butura Ward 2, Bokkos, a substantial number of registered voters were transferred to another polling unit without their knowledge and they only discovered it on election day after arriving at the polling unit. The majority of them were transferred to polling units that were not within walking distance and there was no public transportation to convey them to their newly assigned polling units…
After the manual input of the results into BVAS, the Presiding INEC officer was expected to immediately transmit the data into the INEC Result Viewing portal (IReV) as stated in the Electoral Guidelines. However, this was not done in the polling units observed. This led to tension and suspicion amongst those who were still present at the unit. The INEC officials complained of glitches in the network and that the upload would be done later.
For example, at one of the PUs in Surulere, the voters present at the polling unit became agitated and demanded that the transmission must be done in their presence. This confrontation became very tense. Eventually, the presence of the Police saved the day and the INEC officers were allowed to go… We observed that the stipulated voting time (8.30 AM to 2.30 PM) is grossly inadequate for this exercise in view of the number of voters assigned to each voting unit.
This paucity of time is further compounded by the tardiness of polling officials and could become more unmanageable with higher voter turnout, especially among the elderly and persons living with disabilities. Therefore, we recommend that INEC should work on the punctuality of its officials and consider the elongation of voting time in future elections.