Extend voting period, CDD tells INEC

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afba cdd

A political think tank under the aegis of the Centre for Democracy and Development on Saturday advised that the Independent National Electoral Commission should extend the voting period in order to enable all who want to do so to cast their ballot.

The organisation said that although its observers’ data showed the unavailability of one Bimodal Voter Accreditation System device in 98.8 per cent of polling units and that there have been reports of various glitches during the accreditation process which contributed to delays in voting in places such as Borno State.

The chair of CDD Election Analysis Centre, Prof. Adele Jinadu, made the recommendation in its preliminary statement on the conduct of February 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

The preliminary statement which provided an overview of the CDD-EAC findings on the conduct of the elections based on observers’ data received and analysed as at 1pm, talks predominantly to two of the five ‘I’s that the EAC identified in its launch report: Insecurity and Institutions.

Jonadu said, “There have been some reports of violence and voter suppression in some parts of the country. We have asked our observers in the field to gather more information about these issues. On the whole we commend Nigerians on their participation and peaceful conduct so far, although we note growing reports of voters frustrated by the speed of the voting process.

“We commend Nigerians on their determination to vote and encourage them to remain patient as they cast their ballot and to prevent people who want to try and disrupt the process.

“Where voting has started late or where processes have still not started, we encourage INEC to extend the voting period in order to enable all who want to do so to cast their ballot.

“We urge the security agencies to ensure that they remain neutral in their electoral day activities and actions. We commend INEC on their continued responsive communication with voters and all key stakeholders.

“Our observer data indicated late arrival of poll officials to their respective polling units across the country on election day. Across the country almost 50 per cent of INEC poll officials arrived on time for the commencement of the process. However, the South East and South South recorded the lowest percentage of poll officials arriving on time.

“In the South East, only 10 per cent of poll officials arrived at their respective polling units on time and in the South South it was 27 per cent. In the North East 42 per cent of poll officials got to their polling units on time whilst in the North West, North Central and South West the figure was over 50 per cent. However, Lagos, the State with the highest number of registered voters recorded just 18 per cent in terms of timely arrival of INEC officials. The average opening time across the country was 9:25am; that is a clear one hour after polling was scheduled to start.

“On average, CDD-EAC observation showed INEC officials arrived for set up and commencement of the process between 9:30 and 10:30am in the polling units observed. In the South East, the average time for opening of polls was 10:56am; CDD-EAC observers have also been reporting several instances of polls not opening, even at 12:30pm. In several cases, observer findings reported security officials arriving at the polling stations, while INEC officials had not arrived to open the polls.”