By Chimezie Godfrey
As the electoral process progressed at the weekend,YIAGA Africa, Watching the Vote, was one of the CSO groups that called on all people of Kogi state, the parties and candidates, INEC and security forces to play their parts to ensure a peaceful, credible, and conclusive process of Kogi state elections.
The Chairman, YIAGA Africa, ‘Watching the votes – Kogi Observation Mission, Dr. Hussaini Abdu who stated this during a briefing with Journalists on Sunday in Abuja, commended the people of Kogi for their resilience, commitment and determination to cast their votes in the elections.
He however, decried the incidences of violence, disruption and destruction of electoral materials and process, vote buying, ballot paper/box snatching among others, and therefore called on all political stakeholders to allow peaceful and credible elections in the state.
“We urge political stakeholders to show greater commitment to democracy and credible elections
“YIAGA Africa with her citizens observers the elections on behalf of the people of Kogi and Nigerians, to ensure people’s votes are accurately counted and declared.
“We call on all people of Kogi state, the parties and candidates, INEC and the security forces to play their parts to ensure a peaceful, credible and conclusive process,” he said.
Abdu disclosed that YIAGA Africa has deployed the Parallel Vote Tabulation(PVT) which is an advanced and proven methodology that employs well established statistical principles and utilizes sophisticated information technologies for election observation.
He pointed out that with the PVT, YIAGA Africa can independently determine if the official result announced reflects the votes cast.
He revealed some critical findings from some LGAs in the state, which border on issues of voter inducement, vote buying, none use of card reader for accreditation , disruption of election at polling units, and denying observers access to observe at polling units, among others.
According to Abdu, in the light of the above findings, YIAGA Africa has made some preliminary recommendations in order to ensure credible elections in Kogi state.
He said,” YIAGA Africa condemns the violence and brigandage in some polling units resulting to disruption of voting. YIAGA Africa calls on INEC to cancel elections in those polling e with cases of snatching of ballot papers/boxes, violence, and disruption.
“In the spirit of transparency, YIAGA Africa calls on INEC to make public the list of polling units where elections are cancelled. Security agencies should ensure adequate security is provided to enable voters and INEC complete the process of voting, result collation and declaration.
“YIAGA Africa condemns the blatant vote buying observed within proximity of polling units. Voters should respect the secrecy of the ballot by complying with the laid down procedure for the folding of ballot papers and voting.
“YIAGA Africa calls on deployed security agents to provide speedy response to critical incidents, especially, the reports of violent disruption of the process and distruction of election materials in some polling units. We encourage personnel to remain professional and non-partisan while on duty.”
YIAGA Africa also urged the governorship and senatorial candidates and their political parties to show maturity and respect for the voting process and laws of the country, among others recommendations.