YIAGA AFRICA, a civil society organisation (CSO), has predicted low voter turnout in 11 states where rerun polls will be held on Saturday.
In a statement on Friday, Samson Itodo, YIAGA executive director, said the police and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are facing another integrity test.
He said his organisation has observed low voter education and mobilisation in the states, especially in Akwa Ibom, Imo and Kano.
Itodo said there is increasing tension in Imo because of the supreme court verdict that sacked Emeka Ihedioha and affirmed Hope Uzodinma as governor of the state.
“Based on reports from WTV observers, voter education and mobilization was low in all states especially – in Akwa Ibom, Imo and Kano state,” the executive director said.
“Yiaga Africa predicts poor voter turnout for the elections based on our interaction with voters who expressed concerns with the paucity of information on the elections. Across the 11 states with rerun elections, there are a total of 1,322,929 registered voters.
“There is increasing tension in Imo state following the ruling by the Supreme Court on the governorship election. Citizens are worried that this tension could linger until the elections and has the potential to escalate to physical violence if adequate security is not provided and deployed security personnel fail to act responsibly and professionally.
“In Kano, there is a possible security threat to corps members in Kiru LGA due to alleged involvement of a corps member in the death of a child. INEC has indicated it will refrain from deploying corps members as adhoc officials in Kiru LGA.
“Yiaga Africa notes that the rerun election serves as another test of the integrity and commitment of INEC, Police and President Buhari to free, fair and peaceful elections. This rerun election is conducted against the background of recent marching orders given by President Buhari to the Police to ensure elections are conducted in an atmosphere devoid of violence, intimidation or malpractice. INEC also warned that it would not conduct elections or collate results where the security of election materials and personnel are not guaranteed by security agencies, especially the police.”
Itodo said for the elections to be successful there has to be effective coordination and information sharing between the electoral commission and security agencies.
“The commission should strengthen its oversight to ensure strict adherence to its guidelines, particularly the use of the smart card readers for accreditation and results collation,” he said.
The director added that 100 of its observers would be stationed at selected polling units.
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