REVIEW OF 2019 ELECTIONS And OBSERVERS’ REPORTS
The 2019 elections in Nigeria is by far the costliest in Nigeria. The federal government funded it with a whopping 242 billion naira. 189 billion of that amount went to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while the remaining 54 billion was shared by the security agencies for the purpose of election security.
This excludes the millions of dollars spent on the commission by various international donor partners from across the world. This, according to Sherif Quadri is the reason that Morning Crossfire show on 99.3 Nigeria takes a look at what really went down during the 2019 elections looking at all the reports that have come in so far. EUM, NDIR, and a host of other reports are examined on the show.
Wemimo Adewuni and Sherif Quadri are regular co-hosts on the show. They are joined by In-House Policy and Development expert 99.3 Nigeria Info, Rotimi Sankore, and on the phone line there was South-west coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) Suleimon Arigbabu, who also shared his knowledge and experience with Nigerians.
Wemimo remarked that there were some 84 million registered voters confirmed by INEC for the 2019 elections, about 72 million of those collected their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC). 29 registered political parties took part in the elections, while INEC created around 119,973 polling units. About 23,000 candidates competed for 1,558 positions. The election was witnessed by 120 accredited domestic observers, 36 accredited foreign observers who monitored seven elections conducted over two Saturdays. These elections were presidential, senate, and House of Assembly-held on February 23rd, the governorship, state and House of Assembly, Chairmanship, Councillorship elections of the six area councils of the FCT held on March 9.
How well did Nigeria performed at these elections? There were local and foreign reports and these, according to Wemimo are in the public domain and she also said that it will be checked out as the program goes on.
Responding to questions on the postponement, Suleimon said: “That postponement was quite unfortunate and it’s also not excusable. Any keen observe noted that it appeared that some things were not in place but every effort to get INEC to hold up on that was met with ‘don’t worry we’re ready’ also, the postponement came at an ungodly hour.”
Rotimi referred to a statement by one of his friends who said that there was nothing ungodly about that hour because God was awake.
“Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) deployed about 4,000 observers,” Suleimon said. “I must confess that the postponement especially affected local observers more than foreign observers. The reports from EU observers have come to validate some of the concerns that we had. The major hitch for the election was operational failure. INEC had a one-week postponement so that we would not have the operational failure but it still hit us right in the face. In many places, electoral officers didn’t arrive in good time, some equipment were also missing such as ink-pads. Something as insignificant as that could mar the result in a particular polling unit where it is lacking.
“Aside that, INEC also assured us that it has the resources to ensure officials get to polling units on time. These things happened time and times again in different polling units.”
Speaking on issues anticipated with these, Sankore observed that the postponement was not altogether unanticipated. What was unanticipated was that it would be done at midnight on the morning of the election when people have already traveled to the location where they wanted to vote and while most people were asleep. This affected the turnout for voting and also affected the result although "we cannot tell just much it affected the election result," Rotimi said.
“The observer groups stated that INEC should update its management and communication processes to ensure that information about the process and the results are shared with the parties, stakeholders and the public. I don’t think that there is any other recommendation that is more important than this,” Said Rotimi.
Sherif also remarked that according to observer reports, the 2019 elections fell below the 2015 elections standards. Where did Nigeria go wrong?
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REVIEW OF THE 2019 ELECTIONS & OBSERVERS’ REPORTS
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo (@wemimospot) & Sheriff (@SheriffQuadry), alongside Rotimi Sankore (@RotimiSankore)