How INEC deficiencies may mar March 11 polls

There are indications that the governorship and State Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday March 11 may be marred by apathy following alleged betrayal of trust by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, during the just concluded elections.

Electorates who are angered by the irregularities allegedly exhibited by some INEC officials at the last Saturday presidential and National Assembly elections, have vowed never to vote again.

DAILY POST recalls that opposition parties particularly, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Labour Party, LP, had alleged that the electoral body was compelled to manipulate the results that produced Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as president-elect.

According to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, Mr Tinubu defeated 17 other candidates who took part in the election by scoring a total of 8,794,726 votes, the highest of all the candidates.

The PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar polled a total of 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party came third in the election with a total of 6,101,533 votes.

The opposition parties had rejected the outcome of the poll, seeking redress in court to nullify Tinubu’s victory.

Part of the complaint was the inability of the electoral body to upload results from polling units and wards before collation.

DAILY POST reports that voters who trooped out en masse to participate in the election with the hope that the new electoral law would enhance free and fair elections were disappointed as alleged over voting, cancellation of original results and other electoral malpractices marred the poll.

There were a series of attacks by suspected political thugs in several parts of the country especially Lagos, Rivers, Edo and Kogi States.

Some of the electorates who spoke with DAILY POST in Abuja and other parts of the country on Saturday, expressed pessimism that their votes would not count in the governorship poll.

A human rights activist, Mr Collins Adanu said the governorship election may record more malpractices than the presidential and National Assembly poll.

“For me, there is no need to risk my life to go and cast my ballot when I know very well that my vote won’t count.

“Are they going to use a different INEC to conduct the governorship elections? Won’t they rig it like the one they just did last week? INEC has betrayed our trusts”, Adanu lamented.

A youth leader in Wadata Ward, Makurdi, the Benue State capital, Mr Micheal Aondoka said the youths are angry over the outcome of the presidential election and have vowed to stay off the next elections.

He said, “I know what it took us to convince some people here to go out and vote in the presidential election. It was not easy convincing them that their votes would count.

“Obviously, the election didn’t go as they expected with several allegations of malpractices and even the INEC was not concerned and went ahead to announce results. It may shock you that several people who voted during that election may never vote again, these youths are angry”.

Also, a radio presenter, Adejor Peters who spoke with DAILY POST in Abuja on Saturday, lamented how INEC allegedly ignored several complaints that arose from last week’s elections.

“INEC should have cancelled elections in those areas that witnessed attacks, but they didn’t. They went ahead and announced whoever they wanted. Upon all the allegations, which of them has the INEC chairman addressed?

“The truth is that they don’t really care about us. President Buhari was ready to give Nigerians free and fair elections but INEC became an obstacle.

“How can we trust INEC again? How are Nigerians sure that what happened during the presidential election would not play out in the next election? I’m done with elections in Nigeria”, he said.