A coalition of 70 organisations under the the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room on Thursday, told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to apologise to Nigerians for not meeting up with 2023 election credibility threshold as promised.
The group also demanded INEC to conduct a post-election audit to enable the commission address lapses experienced during the elections, while the National Assembly should consider setting up an independent investigation to ascertain the level of preparations before major elections.
Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Ms Ene Obi, who spoke during a post-election review meeting in Abuja, maintained that the recommendations became necessary to improve electoral processes in Nigeria.
The group also reiterated that the constitution should be amended to replace the position of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) with State Directors of Elections as suggested in 2005 by Justice Muhammadu Uwais Committee for the unbundling of INEC.
“With regards to the 2023 general election, INEC should conduct: – an audit of polling units where elections did not take place to establish the reasons for the failure; – an audit to provide the public, details of the process leading up to the results it collated for the election; and why the INEC Results Viewing Portal malfunctioned, despite assurances of its robustness.”
“The Situation Room’s observation and analysis of the 2023 general election indicate that the election fell short of the credibility threshold set by the Situation Room. INEC should apologise to Nigerians for these avoidable lapses. Contrary to expectations, the 2023 elections was marred by severe logistic, operational failure, and several incidents of violence”.
The Situation Room was optimistic that additional reforms and improvements are required to ensure that the quality of future elections in Nigeria does not further decline, while ensuring that public confidence in the capacity of INEC to conduct elections is restored.
INEC National Commissioner and chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, gave assurance that in few weeks the commission would begin a review of the 2023 elections, urging CSOs to remain non-partisan.
“We should not reduce the election success and hinge all issues on the challenges with result upload alone. There were reports that the BVAS performed optimally, and other logistics worked well but nobody is saying that here.”
“You will agree with me that there were a lot of positives that arose from the conduct of the 2023 general election. The commission will harvest all of these and move ahead toward the next general elections”. He said.