By Matthew Abi
#TrackNigeria – The Connected Development CODE, an INEC accredited observer for the 2019 Nigerian General Elections has charged all the opposition parties and stakeholders to act responsibly, to pursue peaceful and legal resolution of their grievances to uphold the integrity of the political and electoral process of the country.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, the executive director, CODE, said this while briefing pressmen on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, in preparation for the 2019 general elections, the Connected Development CODE launched Uzabe, a real-time ( web based map) situation technology for gathering real time security intelligence and observing the electoral process.
” During this period, Uzabe received over 3,887 reports from on the ground observers and online social sentiment analyst from these reports, Uzabe established about 453 election incidents across 34 states of the country.
” Uzabe recorded issues of electoral violence, voters suppression, security personnel and party agents influencing ballots of voters, vote buying, underage voting and destruction of voting materials in Lagos, Bayelsa, River’s, Kogi, Taraba, Bauchi, Kebbi, Borno and Yobe, leading to death of civilians.
” CODE strongly condemns election based violence which resulted in the burning of thumb printed ballot papers in Isolo local government area in Lagos, killing of young voter at a polling unit in Dekina local government, Kogi state, death of two persons in Nembe, Bayelsa, death of 16 persons in Rivers and injuries of citizens.
Recall that Bomb blasts rocked the North East on the election morning.However, Nigerians still came out en mass to vote.
The group was still able to observe more noting out that, logistics and operational issues were prevalent despite the fact that they were the reason for the postponement of election.
” Uzabe recorded 137 cases of logistics and operational issues at many polling units across the country where some INEC officials in the South East and South West did not arrive at the polling stations until 12pm and commencement of voting starting by 2pm and 4pm in some regions of Akwa Ibom.
” There were also recorded of missing stamp, card reader issues, delay of voting processes, causing INEC to extend voting to Sunday as means of covering for lost hours.
With all this findings, CODE recommend that in order enhance confidence in the election process, INEC’s complete autonomy must be strengthened to ensure it provides more effective and objective electoral process.
” Underage voting is a violation of the Nigerian constitution and it is prevalent in some regions of the country, INEC must work to curb this issues as it serves as an indictment on the credibility of election process and ultimately a threat to our democracy
” Party agents must learn to be cordial irrespective of political difference and must desist from inciting election violence.”