Elections: ActionAid lauds INEC’s performance

By Angela Atabo

ActionAid Nigeria has commended INEC for the improvements recorded in the area of logistics and functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during Saturday’s elections.

It said that the BVAS functioned adequately in 80 per cent of polling units across the country.

ActionAid Nigeria Programme Director, Governance, Celestine Odo, said this while presenting reports from its election observation at a news conference in Abuja.

Odo said that Saturday’s election was a great improvement on the Feb. 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.

“The conduct of the election was impressive given the early arrival of election materials; we observed that deployment of election materials in states started since Wednesday.

“This was great compared to the deployment of materials that started on Friday during presidential election.

“Regretably, the voter turnout for the election was low, it is obvious that voter apathy has set in given what happened during the last election,” he said.

Odo said that due to naira scarcity, political parties resorted to vote buying in states like Kano with wrappers and food items, while in Rivers and Enugu states, it was done in different form.

“From the reports we are getting, we did not see much of cash exchange, what we are told is vote buying with wrappers, food items, chicken among others,” he said.

Odo said that there were pockets of violence in 10 locations recorded in Rivers, Kano and Lagos states.

ActionAid Nigeria Director of Programmes, Suwaiba Dankabo, said that voter turn-out, including women, was low, but hailed security presence at the polling units.

Mr Andrew Mamedu, Director Resource Mobilisation and Innovation, ActionAid Nigeria, added that overall, the turnout of voters was lower than the presidential election.

Mamedu said that was why civil society organisations have been advocating for the conduct of elections in states before national.

He said that election should be bottom up so as to sustain the momentum.

The director also said that there were reports of voter suppression and intimidation, as well as disruption of election in some polling units.

He, however, said that security agencies responded well and supported citizens to exercise their franchise. (NAN)