BY Uche Mbah
Beside the position held by the European Union, EU observer group that the 2019 general elections were marred by irregularities and the ruling party using security agencies to their own advantage, other groups-the National Democratic Institute, NDI, and the International Republican Institute, IRI, also indicted the Buhari government. Their report was presented to the presidency in Abuja on Tuesday.
The two organizations are American Institutions dedicated to democratic norms and principles.
Recall that the European Union observer groups submitted their election monitoring results to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, criticizing the role of the security agencies in influencing the elections and declaring that the election was far from being free and fair.
”The elections (were) increasingly marred by violence and intimidation. This harmed the integrity of the electoral process and may deter future participation”, the report said.
”Around 150 people died in election-related violence during the campaign period and over the election days. INEC reported attacks on its offices, and also fatalities, abductions and sexual assault against its officials.
”There were insufficient accompanying transparency measures. Other procedural weaknesses continued, including in regards to checks and transparency in the results process.” According to the report, ”Severe operational shortcomings resulted in the elections being postponed by a week just five hours before polling was due to start on 16 February.”
European Union leaders, US and other Nigerian traditional allies did not congratulate Buhari on his victory at the polls.
The Buhari campaign spokesperson had asked Nigerians to disregard the report. But in a bizarre twist, INEC accepted blame, claiming it will improve things during future elections.
Other local pro-democracy and local observer groups had also said that the election was far from being free and fair.
The PDP had gone to court to reclaim their “stolen” mandate, and presently there had been controversies over the INEC server that the opposition based their case on. Reports of plans by the PDP presidential candidate to sponsor civil insurrection if the court fails were vehemently denied by Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.