The recently concluded presidential election in Nigeria witnessed improved participation, with numerous Nigerians taking to the polls to cast their votes in hope of airing their grievances as to the consistent dilapidations that have ravaged the social, economic, and political status quo. The election saw Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Party declared the winner, with PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party’s Peter Obi clinching the second and third positions respectively. Though completed, the legitimacy of this election process remains in question, with various complaints of electoral malpractices and violence across most states in the country.
Prior to the declaration of Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election, citizens across numerous states had taking to social media to protest against the frivolous handling of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Whilst many complained about the huge disenfranchisement that erupted on the scheduled Election Day, others pointed out the immense electoral malpractice such as violence, snatching of ballot boxes, vote buying, and the massive riggings experienced across the country.
Complaints of electoral malpractice across Lagos, Imo, and Rivers suffice.
In Lagos, there were numerous complaints about voters intimidation, vote buying, violence, and ballot box snatching. In numerous polling units, elections allegedly failed to hold but results were collated. This sufficed in States like Imo and Rivers too, where votes were not only allegedly manipulated but also showed numerous violence. In fact, the inefficiency of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) was also scrutinized. Despite the promises of Mahmood Yakuku for a free, fair and credible election, reports allege that non of this was fulfilled in the recently concluded presidential election.
Since the declaration of APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-Elect, many political parties and their candidates have criticized the insincerity of the election. Most Nigerians have also lost faith in the credibility of the electioneering institution to independently curate the general election. In fact, Labour Party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, whilst addressing the matters associated with the presidential election, noted that malpractice’s were allegedly experienced in the result collation. He noted that INEC, via its lack of coordination, has cast huge disappointment in the mind of Nigerians that took part in the election.
Observers report that Nigeria’s election was peaceful and transparent.
Abure further stated that the use of BVAS which catalyzed the amendment of the 2022 Electoral Act for electoral transmission of results, was also overtly truncated. He questioned why the INEC servers were down only for the upload of the presidential election. This, he noted, gave room for electoral manipulation of the announced result. Upon rejecting this election result, the Labour Party Chairman disclosed that there was sufficient evidence that confirmed the manipulation of the presidential election.
However, contrary to these election malpractice reports by Nigerians, Independent Foreign Observers Mission has declared that the Presidential and NASS election which took place on March 25, 2023, was properly conducted. This was stated in a preliminary report which was released while the presidential results were still being collated by the INEC officials in Abuja. These foreign observers, who had monitored several elections across Europe and America indicated that the election was transparent and immensely peaceful.
Naira redesign policy minimized vote buying in concluded election.
They noted that there was a major turnout of voters across all the geopolitical zones in the country. They however singled out the South West and South East as the regions that recorded the most turnouts. The observers also noted that the practice of vote buying was hugely minimal, adding that anti-graft agencies and the EFCC were effective in arresting people who indulged in vote buying. They also indicated that the recent naira redesign policy, which caused immense scarcity of cash was also instrumental in minimizing vote buying.