Yiaga Africa, a civil society organization, has stated that the high rate of insecurity and executive impunity, particularly among state governors, may have an effect on the conduct and outcome of the general elections in 2023.
In its pre-election observation report, signed by its Executive Secretary Sam Itodo and distributed to the media on Saturday in Osogbo, Yiaga stated that the report was compiled as part of its Watching The Vote initiative.
It was stated that 822 Long-Term Observers were deployed across 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) to observe the pre-election situation and provide biweekly reports.
The study details the actions of INEC, Political Parties, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), as well as signs of electoral violence.
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According to the committee, the current security issues, economic realities, and political neutrality and makeup of the election management body at both the national and sub-national levels contributed to a system that was more susceptible to electoral manipulation and electoral violence.
It was stated that these circumstances posed threats to the conduct of credible and legitimate elections.
Security of election employees, materials, and residents, and challenges surrounding logistics, especially for the deployment of poll officials and supplies in hard-to-reach localities due to tough and inaccessible terrain, are cited as the most significant factors that may affect the process.
The panel observed that, despite conscious efforts by key stakeholders to promote smooth operations, election periods were frequently marred by fundamental problems that threatened to erode its credibility.
More worrying were the increasing attacks on INEC facilities and offices at the state level, with the most recent attacks resulting in the destruction of offices in Abeokuta South in Ogun, Edeh South LGA in Osun, Izzi LGA in Ebonyi, and Oru West LGA in Imo.
In several local government areas of the country, pre-election violence took the form of verbal and physical assaults, according to the research.
It was reported that a total of sixty reports of violent verbal attacks and forty-six reports of violent physical attacks were received from twenty-seven states.
According to the research, violence is more prevalent in the states of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Niger, Katsina, Rivers, and Oyo.
In addition, the organization reported receiving and confirming a total of 21 critical event reports in the past month.
It was stated that the report includes cases of hate speech, attacks on rallies, fighting between communities, attacks on INEC facilities, attacks against candidates or their supporters, voter inducement, and damage or destruction of candidate or supporter property.
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