YIAGA Africa, a prominent civil society organization, has asserted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to restore Nigerians’ trust in the electoral process during the off-cycle governorship elections held in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa. In a statement released on its official social media handle, YIAGA expressed concerns about the commitment of democratic institutions to electoral integrity and credibility.
“The November 11 elections were another missed opportunity to rebuild trust & confidence in the electoral process. The elections question the commitment of democratic institutions to electoral integrity and credible elections,” a statement made available on the official social media handle of YIAGA read.
The recently concluded off-cycle governorship elections resulted in the emergence of hope uzodimma, and Usman Ododo as winners. However, these elections were marred by reports of vote-buying and various electoral fraud allegations.
In Kogi, an ad-hoc staff was apprehended with a pre-filled election sheet before the official commencement of the governorship election, leading to the cancellation of the election in approximately 59 polling units. In Imo, opposition parties accused the ruling party of colluding with INEC to fabricate figures in areas where elections were suspected not to have taken place.
Despite these reported irregularities, the election umpire proceeded to announce the winners of the three off-cycle governorship elections held on Saturday. YIAGA Africa’s critique highlights the challenges facing INEC in fostering confidence and transparency in Nigeria’s electoral process. The organization’s concerns echo the sentiments of many Nigerians who continue to advocate for reforms to enhance the credibility of future elections in the country.