By Angela Atabo
An election observer group, Ready To Lead Africa, on Monday in Abuja called on INEC to tackle challenges affecting collation of results of Saturday’s elections.
President of the group, Mr Godbless Otubure, told a news conference that it observed that the elections were dogged by logistics challenges, violence and harassment of some individuals.
“We call on INEC to address these issues with alacrity as concerns are beginning to swell from various parts, denting confidence in the process.
“We must now address the many negatives which have thus far threatened to mar the efforts of INEC.
“We deployed observers across the 36 states of the federation.
“In the course of duty, many of them observed incidents of violence, malfunctioning of equipment or malpractice during the voting and counting stages at different collation centres.
“There had been several incidents of result collation centres either not opening or opening late.
“In addition, they observed 34 incidents of violence, 31 of vote counting suspension, and 30 of polling stations running out of material,’’ he said.
Otubure said a police officer harassed one of the group’s observers at Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers and she was denied access to the collation centre in the area.
He added that observers reported faulty Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines in Rivers.
He said also that reports from Obiakpor Local Government Area and, Woji Town Hall, both in Rivers indicated that voting process was slow at two polling units.
He explained that at the two units, INEC officials arrived late and needed extra time to set up the BVAS machines.
“Also, in Oyo State, the collation process took much longer than normal; with collation starting extremely late at the local government area level,’’ he said.
Otubure said results collations were delayed in so many areas of Lagos State with many presiding officers reporting delay in obtaining materials.
He advised INEC to ensure strict adherence to the Electoral Act 2022, and INEC guidelines on results collation.
He, however, commended high voter turnout and Nigerians’ high expectation of the elections outcome.
He called on Nigerians to remain calm and to retain trust in the electoral umpire, and only undertake legal means where necessary. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Deborah Coker/Alli Hakeem